Air India disaster victims are remembered in Cork

Air India disaster victims are remembered in Cork

At the annual memorial service at St Michael’s Cemetery, Mahon, for victims of the 1985 Air India disaster were, from left, Cllr Nicholas O’Keeffe and his daughter Darcy, Lord Mayor Cllr Tony Fitzgerald and Lady Mayoress Georgina Fitzgerald, Eileen Knight and Lisa O’Keeffe. They are standing at the grave of mother and daughter, Annu and Rena Alexander, the only victims buried in Ireland. Picture: Larry Cummins

Schoolchildren and representatives of the emergency services were among those who took part in the recent annual memorial service for the 1985 Air India flight disaster.

Organised by Finbarr Archer, the service took place at the grave of Annu and Rena Alexander, a mother and daughter killed in the crash.

Some 329 people died when the flight from Canada was blown up in midair and the wreckage crashed into the Atlantic off the southern coast.

The Alexanders were the only victims buried in Ireland. 

Annu’s husband and son were also on the plane but their bodies were never found and there was no other family to bury Annu and Renu.

Mr Archer was involved in the recovery efforts in 1985 and has been caring for their graves, in St Michael’s cemetery in Mahon, ever since.

Children from Gaelscoil Mhachan sang and played music at the ceremony. Lieutenant Claire Murphy attended on behalf of the Naval Service and Sergeant Major Jerry Dinneen from the Army, while the Irish UN Veterans were represented by Patsy Dinneen. 

Gardaí Conor Ryan and Tony Gardiner attended, as did Noel Rawley and Gerard Ryan from the Fire Service, along with retired Fire Officer Eddie Buckley. All the emergency services had been involved with the recovery efforts in 1985.

Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald and other councillors also took part in the service. Mr Archer thanked the City council for its support and also Eddie Kenneally, who looks after the grounds at St Michael’s.

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