Ronan Hughes funeral: Priest calls for bullies who drove schoolboy to his death to be brought to justice
A priest at the funeral of Ronan Hughes has called for the bullies who drove the schoolboy to his death to be brought to justice.
Hundreds of mourners packed St Patrick's Church outside Clonoe for Requiem Mass today, where they heard Fr Benny Fee warn of the dangers of the internet.
Ronan (17) is believed to have taken his own life after being tricked into posting photographs on social media.
He was a pupil at St Joseph's Grammar in Donaghmore and played for Clonoe O'Rahilly's GAA club.
Pupils from the school and club helped form a guard of honour as the coffin was brought to and from the chapel.
Carried by grieving relatives, Ronan's coffin was draped in a Clonoe jersey.
Inside, parish priest Fr Fee said "faceless people" had taken his life.
Ronan Hughes, dear people, did not take his own life, for the life of Ronan was taken from him," he said.
"And somewhere in the big world, perhaps very far from Clonoe, there's a man, or a woman, or a gang, who are guilty of a terrible crime.
"And while I wish that faceless man or woman no ill, that man or woman who lured this child into a web that took his life, I do pray with all my heart that they may be caught and that they might be brought to justice for the pain and the agony they have brought to the Hughes family."
Later, Fr Fee warned about the risks the internet poses for everyone.
"Ronan was young, he was beautiful. He had his whole life in front of him," he added.
"But with youth comes its own fragility, and some people took advantage of his beauty and fragility.
"They exploited him and they broke him, and if they could do that to such a sensible fella as Ronan, they could do that to anyone."
If you or someone you know is in distress or despair, call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. This is a confidential service, where trained counsellors will listen and help immediately on the phone and follow up with other support if necessary.
The helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
You can also access the Lifeline website here.