Friday 26 May 2017

'A dark cloud descended over Ireland' - Irish Coast Guard members form guard of honour for Cpt Mark Duffy

Mourners attend the funeral of Captain Mark Duffy Photo: Mark Condren
Mourners attend the funeral of Captain Mark Duffy Photo: Mark Condren
Mourners attend the funeral of Captain Mark Duffy Photo: Mark Condren
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

Irish Coast Guard members formed a poignant guard of honour at the funeral for Captain Mark Duffy.

The funeral mass for the father-of-two is taking place at St Oliver Plunkett Church, Blackrock, in Dundalk, Co Louth followed by cremation in Dardistown Crematorium at 2pm.

A separate guard of honour was formed by children from the local schools.

A lone piper played a lament as his coffin arrived at the church draped in the tricolour and carried by his former colleagues from the Coast Guard service.

Captain Mark Duffy
Captain Mark Duffy

His wife Hermione and children Esmé and Fionn followed behind, supported by a large crowd of relatives and friends.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, Primate of All-Ireland was concelebrating, with Chief celebrant Stephen Duffy, uncle of Mark Duffy.

Mourners heard "a dark cloud had descended over the island of Ireland" when news of the crash of Rescue 116 unfolded.

President Michael D Higgins led mourners at the funeral mass for the brave pilot who was one of the four crew members on board coast guard helicopter Rescue 116 when it went down off the coast of Mayo two weeks ago. 

AFC Kieran Carey represented Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Also in attendance was Gerry Adams who is the local TD for the area and former Justice minister Dermot Ahern.

Symbols brought to the altar representing his life included his slippers, his and Hermione's wedding bands from their 17 year marriage and his flying helmet - mourners heard he loved flying the helicopter for search and rescue and was proud to do so.

Also included were three rings given by Mark to Hermione for her 40th birthday, a story book, Lost and Found, a rugby ball and a selection of cards made by the children.

The first reading was read by his brother Donard.

Divers recovered Mr Duffy's remains from the cockpit of the crashed helicopter on Sunday from the sea at Black Rock lighthouse.

Searches are continuing for the other crew members, Winchman Ciaran Smith and Winch Operator Paul Ormsby.

Local TD from Louth Declan Breathnach earlier said the community is still in shock.

“Captain Mark Duffy was a great man in the Blackrock community and obviously the community are absolutely shocked," he said.

"Books of sympathy have been opened and there has been an outpouring of grief.”

Online Editors

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News