Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Security tight for Stephen Gately's funeral

Ronan Keating of Boyzone chats with St Laurence O'Toole Parish Priest (right) Declan Blake

Security plans were being drawn up last night to accommodate thousands of fans outside the church for Boyzone star Stephen Gately's funeral tomorrow.

The tragic singer's home of Sheriff Street, north Dublin is gearing up for a mini-invasion with band members Ronan Keating, Shane Lynch and Mikey Graham all lending a hand with preparations yesterday.

Parish Priest, Fr Declan Blake, said they were emotionally “shattered” following Stephen's death in Majorca at the weekend.

The church, which has a capacity of just 550, is being reserved for family, friends, locals and VIPs. Loudspeakers will broadcast the ceremony to the crowd outside.

Gardai will close a number of roads to accommodate the overflow of people from the church grounds and they are calling for the public to respect the fact that they are attending a funeral.

“We are expecting that people will respect that and the sensitivities associated with a funeral,” Store Street Chief Superintendent Patrick Leahy said.

“On the other hand, we are planning for any eventuality and who knows how many people will turn up.

“But if large numbers turn up we will be able to manage that.

“We are also accommodating all of the local people because they are entitled as he is one of their own.”

Sheriff Street was full of life yesterday with locals busy tidying up the church and streets in advance of Stephen's removal this evening.

Boyzone's Ronan Keating, Shane Lynch and Mikey Graham were also involved in preparing the security plans.

Ronan and Shane paid a visit to Store Street Garda Station for an hour before heading down to the Gately home in Sheriff Street.

They then met Mikey and Fr Blake at the church where they further discussed how best to contain the crowds.

“The lads are all shattered with the news,” Fr Blake said.

He said he was expecting thousands of fans to descend on the area for the funeral.

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