It was with extreme sadness that I learned of the tragedy which occurred this afternoon in the waters off Kilkee, Co Clare.
Caitriona was a member of that extraordinary group of men and women who dedicate their skills, time and passion so that others may be safe on our coastlines. This is an appalling tragedy; the loss of a brave and valiant woman engaged in the most heroic of and unselfish of duties.
Such remarkable courage and heroism in the service of others is rarely equalled and never surpassed. On behalf of myself and my Department I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Caitriona – a woman who made the ultimate sacrifice in her service to others.
I would like to wish those two volunteers, who are recovering from this appalling trauma in hospital this evening, speedy and fulsome recoveries.
And I would like to commend all the volunteers, particularly those of Kilkee and Doolin CGUs, who responded today in such a valiant and courageous manner in the most horrendous and difficult of circumstances.
I can only applaud their bravery and empathise with their sorrow on this very, very tragic day.
Statement by the Irish Coast Guard
The Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) regrets to announce that a volunteer member of the Doolin Coast Guard unit lost her life today when participating in a search off Kilkee for a missing person which was being conducted by the local KIlkee and Doolin volunteer Coast Guard units.
The deceased person was named as Caitriona Lucas. Her husband Bernard is also a member of the Doolin unit. A RIB from Kilkee Coast Guard Unit, is believed to have capsized and the 3 occupants (2 female and 1 male) entered the water. Valentia Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Centre immediately launched a major Search and Rescue operation.
The 2 females were located and recovered from the water, one by Rescue Helicopter based in Shannon (R115), and the 2nd by Delta RIB. Both were taken to hospital where Ms Lucas was pronounced dead. The 3rd casualty, a male, was recovered from a nearby cave area, at around 5.30pm by a Coast Guard helicopter following an extensive and complex operation.
The Coast Guard extends sincere condolences to Lucas family and all the volunteer members of the Doolin and Kilkee units. The Coast Guard also wishes to thank all the other organisations that participated in today’s search.