TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has paid tribute to those involved in the search for the three crew members missing from Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 116 and said the four families of those who were lost in the crash need answers, RTÉ News reports this evening.
Coast Guard helicopter Captain Dara Fitzpatrick died after being taken from the water off Blacksod, Co Mayo, last Tuesday.
The three other crew on board, Chief Pilot Mark Duffy and winchmen Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith, are still missing.
Speaking to reporters at Blacksod Lighthouse, Deputy Kenny commended the "absolute co-operation" between the different agencies involved in the rescue operation.
He highlighted the support of local fishermen, which he said had been central to the search effort.
Mr. Kenny said they had provided invaluable expertise and information about the challenging conditions around Blackrock.
An Taoiseach was speaking after he returned from the LÉ Eithne, where he was briefed about all aspects of the search operation off the Mayo coast.
He said the weather was not conducive to sending down divers to the main search area and it could be Thursday at the earliest before crews would have an opportunity to conduct a detailed underwater search.
He said he could not praise highly enough the local community for the support they were providing to all those involved in the search.
Mr. Kenny said answers were needed as to what had happened to the aircraft.
He told RTÉ News this was vital for the families who lost relatives in the crash and also in terms of the Coast Guard service and the facilities it provides.
He said he felt it was important for him to travel to Blacksod today and he hoped by the weekend that more information would be available in respect of the search and the associated investigations into last week's crash.
Earlier Mr. Kenny met Civil Defence and Coast Guard personnel at Halla Naomh Brendán, in Aughleam, the RTÉ News report added.