Poignant vigil held to mark first anniversary of Rescue 116 tragedy
Over 100 people including family members and colleagues of the Rescue 116 crew attended a candle lit vigil in the early hours of Wednesday morning in memory of the four rescue workers.
The vigil began shortly before 12.46am- the last radar contact the Irish Coast Guard helicopter had with control at Blacksod lighthouse a year ago before it collided with Black Rock off the Mayo Coast.
Four lights lit up from Glosh Tower across Blacksod Bay, one each representing Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Ciaran Smith and Paul Ormsby.
A four minute silence was then held for the crew with all lights turned off, apart from the four beacons which could be seen across the Mullet Peninsula.
Following the poignant four minutes of silence a bagpipe lament was played by John Butler in memory of the crew.
Over one hundred family, friends and loved ones of the Rescue 116 crew attended the candle lit vigil, as well as members of various agencies including the Irish Coast Guard and An Garda Siochana.
Further memorial services will be held in honour of the crew this morning on the first anniversary of the tragedy.
An anniversary mass is planned for 10am at St Brendan's Church, Tirrane while a wreath laying service is due to take place at the Blacksod lighthouse later this morning.
The lighthouse is where the large-scale search operation was co-ordinated from over several weeks last year.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has paid tribute to the lost crew of R116 today on the first anniversary of their loss.
"It is the one year anniversary, and they have been on my mind. I have been reading some of the coverage of the anniversary when I have had time over the past couple of days.
"I am a former Minister for Transport, so I know the Coastguard well, and indeed I met Captain Dara Fitzpatrick during my role as Minister.
"I am conscious at this stage that there are families who are still grieving and of course there are families who do not have the remains of their loved ones, and my thoughts are very much with them at this sad time."