By BRIAN MOORE
THE ANNUAL commemoration for the families who lost their loved ones when an Air India flight from Canada went down off the Irish coast, will take place at the memorial over looking Dunmanus Bay next Tuesday June 23rd.
For 30 years, family members have made the yearly pilgrimage to the Sheep’s Head peninsula and to Ahakista to remember and pray for their relations who were tragically killed when their Boeing 747 exploded and crashed into the Atlantic on the morning of June 23 1985.
Attending this year’s commemoration will be Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan TD, Mr VK Singh, India’s Minister External Affairs (European Division) and the Canadian Justice Minister and Attorney General, Peter MacKay.
The commemoration will take place at the Air India Memorial in Ahakista at 8am on Tuesday morning, where family members will gather to remember and pray for their loved ones who died so tragically.
Also joining the families in this remembrance ceremony will be members of the Irish Coast Guard and the Naval vessel the LE Eithne, who were on duty that morning and helped to recover the bodies of the 329 people who died.
An ecumenical service of remembrance will also take place in the West Lodge Hotel in Bantry, on Monday June 22nd at 6pm.
‘Every year we welcome back our friends and we hope that they find a little peace here in Ahakista where they can remember and pray for the lost members of their families, said commemoration committee chairman Michael Murphy.
‘This tragic event, which took place 30 years ago this month, has seen this small community on the Sheep’s Head come together again and again, to help and support the grieving families who probably would never have heard of this remote corner of Ireland under normal circumstances,’ he said.
‘We will continue to work to ensure that, along with Cork County Council, the Air India memorial will be looked after and that our friends will be welcomed to Ahakista for another 30 years,’ he added.