The body of the Belfast teenager who died in a tragic holiday accident in Spain a week ago was last night returned to his home in the west of the city.
Padraig Burns (16) died after falling from a balcony in the popular resort of Benidorm, where he had been enjoying a break with his sister and friends.
The popular youth from Tullymore Gardens, off the Glen Road, was one of eight children and had been awaiting his GCSE results this summer.
Parish Curate Father Peter Carlin said the family were bearing up to the tragedy ahead of Padraig’s funeral on Monday.
“They’re really a very strong, supportive, close-knit family,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.
“There’s an atmosphere of remarkable calm in the household now that they have faced the return of Padraig’s mortal remains.
“That’s generated through their faith-based approach to life. They are seeing beyond the tragedy while fully immersed in it.”
Fr Carlin said the Burns family were “very highly respected and esteemed” within their local community”.
“People are very supportive and very saddened,” he said.
“There would be no anonymity that you might find in other more middle-class areas, where you might be nursing this tragedy with a sense of isolation.”
Fr Carlin also spoke of meeting Padraig at a recent family wedding.
“In the past year there have been two weddings in the family, a sister and a brother were married,” he said.
“At the wedding I officiated, his brother’s, it was Padraig’s first prominent role socially, he was a groomsman.
“That was a very joyful occasion, and he was in the full flush of youth and enjoyment.”
Padraig’s parents Sadie and Paul flew over within hours of hearing of Padraig’ s death last Saturday.
“They attended a Mass over in Spain at the same time as we had a prayer service in the family home last Sunday evening,” said Fr Carlin.
“They pull together as a family and try to face this awful loss with a sense of calm and dignity.”
Kevin Burke, Principal of St Mary's Grammar School, where Padraig was a pupil, said staff and students had been left devastated at the news.
“He was a great lad and he got on extremely well with teachers and pupils alike,” he told the Andersonstown News.
“He was very involved in school life and he was one of our top Gaelic footballers.
“I knew him very well and I was shocked to hear the news. It's a tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time. Pádraig will be greatly missed by the whole of the St Mary's community.”
Padraig’s funeral will take place on Monday morning at St Michael the Archangel Church on Finaghy Road North.