Monday 19 August 2019

'It is like there is half of you missing, you can't stand up straight' - Husband of hero coastguard Caitríona Lucas

Irish Coast Guard hero Caitriona Lucas
Irish Coast Guard hero Caitriona Lucas

Cian Murray

The husband of hero coastguard Caitríona Lucas, who died during a search and rescue mission off the coast of Kilkee, has told of the family's heartbreak since the incident.

The 41-year-old woman, who had worked as a volunteer with the Doolin Coastguard for over 10 years, died after she was plunged into the rough water alongside two of her colleagues when their boat capsized in September.

Today her husband, Bernard, spoke to Clare FM's Morning Focus in the wake of Caitríona being given the posthumous award of Clare Person of the Year 2017.

He said: "It is very hard. When you are together with somebody for 24 years and then suddenly that person goes out the front door and doesn't come back in the evening, that's very, very hard. There is a huge void left there... it is like there is half of you missing and you can't stand up straight.

"I haven't gone back to work yet, I can't. I have tried a couple of times but I can't... I feel guilty about that in a way... but I just can't."

When asked to describe his wife, Bernard Lucas said she was a "very happy, bubbly person" who "went about the stuff she did very quietly."

Caitríona Lucas and her husband Bernard with their dogs
Caitríona Lucas and her husband Bernard with their dogs

Mr Lucas, who arrived at the scene as a volunteer coastguard on the day of the incident, said he has already returned to the boat, as it "just feels right" as it is "what they did together."

He added that anyone who is interested in volunteering should not lot the potential dangers hold them back.

"There is risks involved in everything you do and she was just unlucky but that shouldn't take away from following your dream if you want [to work as a coastguard]," he said.

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