Congratulations to Chris Reynolds, Leinster Referee and Director of the Irish Coast Guard who accepted the People of the Year Award on behalf of the Coast Guard at the ceremony on Sunday night.
The Irish Coast Guard, the crew of Rescue 116, Caitríona Lucas and the community of Erris were honoured at the People of the Year Awards.
They were awarded in recognition of the heroic work by the men and women of the Irish Coast Guard who risk their lives to assist maritime and coastal communities, while the people of Erris were recognised for their contribution to the search for the missing crew of Rescue 116.
On 14 March 2017, Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 disappeared off the north coast of Mayo, with four crew members on board: Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, Captain Mark Duffy and winchmen Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith.
Hundreds of volunteers, fishermen, and colleagues supported the emergency services in combing the area for the missing crew. The bodies of Dara Fitzpatrick and Mark Duffy were recovered in the subsequent searches. Despite intensive efforts, the bodies of Ciarán Smith and Paul Ormsby have yet to be recovered.
Just six months previously, the Irish Coast Guard community had suffered another devastating loss with the passing of their brave colleague, volunteer member Caitríona Lucas, who had been participating in a search operation off the coast of Kilkee, Co Clare.
You can watch Chris accepting the Award here
Congratulations also to our Munster Referee Colleague Joy Neville who also collected an award. Joy has represented Ireland and Munster during her playing career, and was recently named World Rugby Referee of the Year for 2017. She has won 70 caps in the back row for Ireland and went on to captain her country for a number of years.
Neville says that all young sportswomen should be able to dream and achieve, as she was presented with Sports Person of the Year Award for her inspirational achievements, and for her service, commitment, and leadership to the world of rugby.
You can see Joy accepting her award here