A tearful Mickey Harte yesterday said farewell to his brother at the same small church where four weeks earlier he buried his beloved daughter.
The grieving Harte family returned once more to St Malachy’s chapel on the outskirts of Ballygawley for the funeral of Mickey’s eldest brother, Paddy.
It is the latest tragedy for the Tyrone GAA boss, who has now lost his daughter Michaela, two brothers and his mother-in-law in the space of six months.
Among the mourners yesterday were Michaela’s widower John McAreavey and representatives from the Tyrone County Board.
Members of the Tyrone football panel and the local Errigal Ciaran club provided a guard of honour as the coffin was carried into the chapel.
Inside mourners heard parish priest Fr Michael Seery describe Paddy Harte as “a gentleman” who was highly respected in the community. In his homily, Fr Seery touched on Mr Harte’s love of traditional Irish music, his faith and devotion to prayer.
Mr Harte was a member of the Pioneer Association and during the offertory procession his Pioneer pin was brought up to the altar, along with a medal from Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the traditional Irish music organisation of which he was a member.
Speaking afterwards, Fr Seery said Mr Harte was heavily involved in parish life.
“Paddy was a caretaker of the chapel for 20 years,” he said.
“He was also a daily Mass-goer and a man who prayed a lot — a very religious man.
“He was a gentleman, a gentle soul, who will be missed a lot.”
Following yesterday’s funeral Mass Mr Harte’s remains were buried in the adjoining cemetery.
This is the fourth tragedy to strike Mickey Harte in recent months.
Another brother, Peter, who was a former president of the |Ulster GAA council, died from a brain tumour last October.
Two months earlier his mother-in-law, Patsy Donnelly, died suddenly.
And on January 10 — just five weeks ago — his daughter Michaela was murdered while on her honeymoon in Mauritius.
Fr Seery said the Harte family was coping with the latest tragedy. “It was another sad occasion but they are holding up well,” he added.
“Their faith is helping them through and they are getting a lot of messages of support.”
Tragically, Paddy’s death came just hours after the Harte and McAreavey families attended Michaela’s Month’s Mind Mass.