The husband of Caitríona Lucas has said it is “a great honour” that one of her paintings has been featured on two new stamps issued in recognition of the Irish Coast Guard.
Ms Lucas, 41, a volunteer from the Doolin Coast Guard Unit, drowned during a rescue mission off Doolin in September 2016.
An Post has now issued two stamps honouring the Irish Coast Guard which are based on an original painting by the late mother of two.
The artwork depicts a rescue team working at sea, both in the air and on the water. The scene in the painting was divided into two stamps by Vermillion Design.
Her husband, Bernard Lucas unveiled the stamps at the GPO in Dublin and said the fact that the painting features a helicopter and rescue boat made it incredibly poignant.
“She painted stuff that she loved. She painted the animals at home on the farm and she painted the Coast Guard. She loved the Coast Guard, she was really into it, it was a very big part of her life, of both of our lives actually.
“So, she would have painted stuff like that that she liked. Her last piece of work, for instance, was Padraig Pearse. She just had it finished just before the accident” he told RTÉ Radio’sprogramme.
Mr Lucas said Caitríona’s father, her children and all her family were extremely proud of the work she did in the Coast Guard and described her as a “bright light that shone brilliantly.
Mr Lucas said his hope was that the stamps would remind people “of all the volunteers who are still going out every day” but also of the importance of water safety.
“It’s what we are, what we do, that’s what we’re there for,” he said.
National Manager of the Coast Guard’s volunteer branch Gerard O’Flynn said that the organisation was delighted with public recognition but was “particularly pleased that Caitriona’s work is being honored in this way”.
“We would hope that the Lucas family will take some strength from this recognition,” he said.
Managing Director of An Post Retail, Debbie Byrne paid tribute to the Coast Guard and said that the stamps were a way of recognising that work and the fact that people have lost their lives in rescuing others from harm.
Stamps mark important aspects of Irish life and these beautiful stamps acknowledge the service given by members of the Coast Guard to keep us safe when we are in or near the water. We also recognise the families of those Coast Guard volunteers and staff who have lost their lives while serving the Irish people,” she said.
The Irish Coast Guard responds to maritime and inland search and rescue emergencies with its main objective to reduce the loss of life on lakes, waterways, rivers, sea and coastal areas.
The organisation, comprising of 65 full-time staff and 940 volunteers, assist on average 4,500 people every year, saving 200 lives and handling 3,000 maritime emergencies.