beautiful person | 

Sister of tragic Rescue 116 pilot Dara Fitzpatrick pays poignant tribute on her 50th birthday

'Happy birthday Dara. We miss you every day. Tonight, I hope you dance'

Niamh Fitzpatrick's picture of her sister Dara that she tweeted

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

A poignant birthday tribute to Dara Fitzpatrick, the Rescue 116 pilot who tragically died in 2017, by her sister has touched the hearts of people across the country.

The pilot’s sister Niamh Fitzpatrick marked what would have been her 50 th birthday with a tweet alongside a beautiful picture of Dara.

The psychologist wrote: “Had she lived, the girl who loved birthdays would be 50 today.

“How she’d have loved that celebration: in the midst of her family & friends, a night filled with love, laughter & dancing ‘til your feet hurt.”

She added: “Happy birthday Dara. We miss you every day. Tonight, I hope you dance,” and signed off with a red heart emoji.

Captain Fitzpatrick lost her life alongside fellow Irish Coast Guard crew members, Captain Mark Duffy, winch operator Paul Ormsby and winch man Ciarán Smith when their helicopter crashed into Blackrock Island, off the north Mayo coast in 2017.

While the bodies of Captain Fitzpatrick and Captain Duffy were recovered in the days following the tragedy, the remains of their colleagues remain lost at sea.

Niamh Fitzpatrick’s sister Captain Dara Fitzpatrick lost her life on Rescue 116 in March 2017. Photo: Mark Condren

Numerous messages of support have greeted Niamh’s tweet with one person writing: “Happy birthday Dara. A beautiful person taken too soon. Thinking of you and your family today. We were friends with you in a Limerick gym and we speak of you often.”

Another added: “Thank you for remembering Dara & speaking about her. One of the most horrifying fears when you’re bereaved is your loved one being forgotten

“Their memory washed away like footprints by the tide. It means SO much that you remember the girl you all knew from the gym.”

In response to another message saying Dara was “clearly so loved”, Niamh replied, “she is indeed loved. Thank you for sharing those lovely words, you’re very kind.”

“Ah gosh. Happy birthday Dara! Lots of love to you Niamh. A sad day & a happy day to celebrate how fab your sis was.

Another added: “Ah gosh. Happy birthday Dara! Lots of love to you Niamh. A sad day & a happy day to celebrate how fab your sis was.”


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