Public demand to honour crew member Paul Ormsby

Public demand to honour crew member Paul Ormsby

By Maurice Garvey

PUBLIC demand to acknowledge former air crew member Paul Ormsby exists in the community where he lived, but official policy for commemorative naming of plaques, and a delay in publishing the final report of the tragedy, means it is unlikely to happen anytime soon, writes Maurice Garvey.

Ballyfermot man Paul, was one of four air crew involved in the tragic Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter 116 crash off the coast of Mayo in March, 2017.

Paul Ormsby stock 1

Winchman Paul Ormsby remains lost at sea

The bodies of Capt Dara Fitzpatrick and Capt Mark Duffy were recovered in the days following the accident, but winchmen Ciarán Smith and Paul Ormsby, remain lost at sea.

Residents in Ballyfermot, specifically the Oranmore Road area, where Paul lived, are in favour of honouring Paul’s memory at a local park known as the Tarmac, located between Oranmore and Spiddal.


However, according to Dublin City Council policy, persons have to have died at least 20 years ago to be considered in the naming of plaques.

Oranmore resident Dermot Buckley, who is spearheading a commemoration campaign for “the late and missing hero Paul Ormsby” is disappointed that previous efforts have come to nought.

“I worked with a local councillor to dedicate something in the park to Paul and the lost crew of 116, was assured funds were agreed, then all of a sudden, the councillor went to ground and stopped answering the phone,” said Buckley.

“It is not to name the whole park after him, but something to acknowledge Paul, a consummate professional.”

Earlier this year, the European Cockpit Association expressed alarm at the delay in publishing the final report into the 116 tragedy, which was initially due to be released in January 2020.

ECA resident Capt Otjan de Bruijn also questioned why Ireland had adopted a “rare procedure” where an aviation accident investigation can be re-examined before publication and urged release of the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) report “without delay”.

Mr Buckley said he was contacted by someone close to the Irish Air Corps and told “nothing can be done until Paul’s name is cleared”.

“I know there is rules, that is understandable, but he was a local hero and the response on Facebook was huge,” said Buckley.

“A plaque or a stone in the Tarmac, thinking the helicopter would normally land at the tarmac, we could call it Paul Ormsby Tarmac,” he added.

The Echo has contacted Dublin City Council for comment.

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