Latest: Families and friends of Rescue 116 victims come together to mark anniversary

Update 8.55pm: Families and friends of those killed in the Rescue 116 crash have come together to mark one year since the tragedy.

The helicopter came down near Blackrock Island off the Mayo coast with the loss of all four crew members.

A memorial service and wreath laying ceremony to mark the first anniversary of the Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter 116 crash at Blacksod Light house & Pier, Belmullet, Co. Mayo. Pic: Michael mc Laughlin.

A special mass and wreath laying ceremony took place today in memory of Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciaran Smith.

Fr Kevin Hegarty spoke about the loss for their families at the memorial.

He said: "We know so deeply that our words and our gestures are inadequate to meet the reality of your pain, the pain of loss.

"All of us have experienced it in some way but you've experienced it in a great devastating way."

A memorial service and wreath laying ceremony to mark the first anniversary of the Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter 116 crash at Blacksod Light house & Pier, Belmullet, Co. Mayo. Pic: Michael mc Laughlin.

Update 3.20pm: Taoiseach says Rescue 116 tragedy is 'very much on his mind'

The Taoiseach says the Rescue 116 tragedy is very much on his mind.

It is one year since the Irish Coastguard helicopter crashed off the Mayo coast with the loss of all four crew members.

A special mass and wreath laying ceremony took place today in memory of Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciaran Smith.

Speaking in the US Leo Varadkar said he too was thinking of them.

He said: I am former Minister for Transport so I know the coast guard well, I met Captain Dara Fitzpatrick during my role as a Minister and I am conscious that there are families who are still grieving and families who do not yet have the remains of their loved ones.

"My thoughts are very much with them and the coastguard at this time."

Update 1.40pm: Over 300 people gather in Mayo to remember Rescue 116 crew

More than 300 people have gathered in Mayo to remember the victims of Rescue 116.

It is one year since the Irish Coastguard chopper crashed with the loss of all four crew.

At 12.46 am on the 14th of March last year tragedy struck this small coastal community in North Mayo.

Rescue 116 came down near Blackrock Island killing Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciaran Smith.

Today their families and friends joined with members of the Irish Coastguard, Navy and RNLI to remember them.

Fr Kevin Hegarty spoke about the sense of loss since the tragedy:

The grief is acute for all the families, especially so for the families of Paul Ormsby and Ciaran Smith so far we haven't recovered the remains of their loved ones. Your pain is particularly acute because one of the things that helps in a time of bereavment is to have a place to go to to pray and to reflect.

Fr Hegarty also spoke about the impact the tragedy has had on their families.

"I know that for you Blacksod and Blackrock will always be engraved on your hearts. I would like you to know also that you are also engraved on our hearts and you always will be."

A special wreath laying ceremony is also taking place this afternoon.

The LE Niamh and the Irish Lights Vessel the Granuaile will bring five wreaths – one for each of the crew of 116 and another for coastguard volunteer Catriona Lucas who died in the line of duty in September 2016.

They will be paid close to Blackrock Island where Rescue 116 tragically crashed 12 months ago today.

The Transport Minister is asking people to pause and remember the victims of Rescue 116 for their bravery, courage and service.

Earlier: Rescue 116 crew remembered one year after fatal crash

A special mass takes place this morning to mark one year since Rescue 116 crashed off the Mayo coast.

All four crew members were killed when the helicopter went down near Blackrock Island in the early hours of March 14, 2017.

Late last night, up to 100 people attended a vigil to remember Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciaran Smith.

Local Superintendent Tony Healy says the tragedy had a huge impact on the community:

"They felt it very much as a personal loss, as if it were one of their own family or one of their own friends that had been lost at sea," he said

"You can really see that in the huge, mammoth effort over the long duration of the 50-day search and they were as resilient at the start as they were at the end."

- Digital Desk


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