Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Funeral priest tells of ‘tsunami of grief’ rolling over scenic Inishowen

Mourners attend the funeral of Mark McLaughlin at St Mary's Church in Fahan, Co Donegal
Mourners attend the funeral of Mark McLaughlin at St Mary's Church in Fahan, Co Donegal
James McEleaney, one of the eight men killed in the Buncrana car crash

On Sunday night a shockwave rolled over this area ... the opening words from Fahan priest Fr Neil McGoldrick yesterday at the funeral of Mark McLaughlin (21).

It was the second of eight funerals taking place this week after two cars in collision near Buncrana in Donegal last Sunday night caused the deaths of eight men from Inishowen peninsula.

About 1,500 mourners attended the funeral at St Mura's church in Fahan village.

The chief mourners were Mark’s father John, mother Roma and his younger brother Damien. Mr McLaughlin worked as a lorry driver for McDaid’s quarry firm, where, Fr McGoldrick said, he was called “the golden boy”.

The horrific death toll from last weekend's tragedy on the Buncrana to Clonmany road has rocked the community.

“On Sunday night a shockwave rolled through this area. Someone described it as a tsunami rolling across Inishowen, overwhelming us all,” said Fr McGoldrick.

He went on to describe the feelings of “disbelief” felt by the McLaughlin family upon hearing their son was one of seven young men killed in the same car. Hugh Friel (66) died in the other car.

“Surely it's not right, it can't be him. It can't be Mark who we knew. Mark who was a tender of sheep around the homeland, who drove a tractor from an early age. It can't be Mark, the very good son, very close brother,” he said.

The enormity of this horrific accident was brought home in a prayer read out by Mark's cousin, Tina O'Donnell who read out a list of the other victims of the crash.

There was much quiet grief in the small church.

Peggy Doherty, a close family friend, received a round of applause when she read out an emotional poem she had written in memory of her pal.

She wrote: “A lovely happy lad he was, but God had another plan. So proudly now we say farewell to a great and gentle man.”

Four more victims of the accident will be buried today in Inishowen.

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