Painting by hero Irish Coast Guard volunteer who died in rescue mission chosen for new postage stamps
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Painting by hero Irish Coast Guard volunteer who died in rescue mission chosen for new postage stamps

AN POST has paid tribute to the late Irish Coast Guard volunteer Caitríona Lucas by releasing two new postage stamps featuring her artwork.

The stamps are based on an original painting by the librarian and mother-of-two, who tragically died when the boat she was searching for a missing man in capsized off Kilkee, Co. Clare on September 12, 2016.

The 41-year-old was the first member of the Irish Coast Guard to die on active service and her painting depicted a rescue team working at sea both by boat and helicopter.

The pair of stamps featuring two halves of the artwork were launched at the GPO in Dublin earlier today.

Ms Lucas' husband Bernard Lucas, who served as a volunteer alongside his late wife, said the release was a great honour to his family.

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Catríona Lucas, 41, died off Kilkee, Co. Clare in 2016 (Image: Photocall Ireland)

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1, he said: "They have great significance. She painted things she loved.

"It's to think of the Coast Guard in general - the people who we have unfortunately lost over the last two and a half years.

"It's to think of all the volunteers who are still going out everyday volunteering and helping people out in trouble."

Managing Director of An Post's Retail section, Debbie Byrne, said the new stamps "acknowledge the service given by members of the Coast Guard to keep us safe when we are in or near the water".

She added: "We also recognise the families of those Coast Guard volunteers and staff who have lost their lives while serving the Irish people."

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Gerard O'Flynn, National Manager of the Coast Guard's volunteer branch, said he was "particularly pleased that Caitríona’s work is being honored in this way".

He added: We would hope that the Lucas family will take some strength from this recognition."

Comprising 65 full-time staff and 940 volunteers, the Coast Guard assists around 4,500 people per years - saving 200 lives and handling 3,000 maritime emergencies annually.

"I'm always proud of Caitríona," Mr Lucas added. "She was a bright light that shone brilliantly."

The new postage stamps are on sale at post offices nationwide and online at www.irishstamps.ie.

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