HUNDREDS gathered yesterday to pay an emotional tribute to the six victims of the air disaster at Cork Airport.
Politicians, clergy, airline officials and rescue services personnel attended a special memorial at the Church of the Assumption in Ballyphehane -- the home parish of the airport.
The packed church erupted in applause when tributes were paid to the emergency services without whom, the congregation was told, a lot more than six lives might have been lost last Thursday morning.
The Bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr John Buckley -- who was one of the first to reach the airport to console the bereaved -- said hearts were broken in Cork and the rest of the country by the sheer scale of the tragedy.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen and President Mary McAleese were both represented by their aides-de-camp.
The Spanish Ambassador was represented at the service by Catherine Goode.
Dr Buckley said people were understandably shocked by the tragedy.
"We need to ask, Lord, why did you allow our brothers to die so tragically in our city last Thursday morning?
"Why did you allow it to happen. Why have you broken the hearts of their loved ones? Why this great suffering by the injured whom I saw in (Cork) University Hospital?
"The Bible is full of cries like these. Jesus himself cried out on the cross: 'My Lord, my God, why have you abandoned me?' All we can say is there are no answers," he said.
Earlier, Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Dr Paul Colton, held a special prayer service at the Chapel of Christ the Healer at Cork University Hospital.