Belfast Telegraph

'A community devastated': Funeral held for mother-of-four killed in crash

'Tragedy reminds us of goodness and kindness and generosity of this rural community'

The funeral of a mother-of-four killed in a tragic road collision has taken place in Donegal.

Along with Margaret McGonigle (69) and her daughter Mairead Mundy (37),  Rachel Battles (39) was killed in a crash as the group returned home from a holiday on Friday.

The crash happened at about 12.30am on the N2 a few minutes north of Ardee as a group travelled home to the village of Bruckless in Donegal from Dublin Airport.

A six-year-old girl, one of Ms Battles' four children, was seriously injured in the crash and taken to Temple Street Children's Hospital in Dublin.

Speaking before the congregation, Parish Priest Father James Sweeney said: "This tragedy has devastated the community and a sense of shock permeates our parish as well as the entire country.

"This tragedy has reminded us of the goodness and kindness and generosity of this rural community here in south Donegal.

"Rachel, wife to Martin and mother to Killian, Owen, Ellie and Danni, was also a well-known member of the community.

"It is to our faith we turn for consolation and to the love and support of the community to help us at this difficult time."

He went on to describe Rachel's role in the local community, talking about how she met her husband while working as a barmaid in Killibegs, where she met her husband Martin.

She later went on to work caring for people in the local community.

The funerals of the three women killed in a car crash after returning home from a holiday last week heard how their local community has rallied around their family to support them in the wake of the tragedy.

Requiem Mass for Mrs McGonigle and daughter Mairead was celebrated at 11am at the Church of St Joseph and St Conal in Bruckless, with funeral mass for Mrs Battles beginning in the same church at 2.30pm.

Fr Sweeney, who knew all the deceased well, officiated at both the funerals.

"We, as a community give thanks today for the gifts of their lives," he told mourners at the funeral of Margaret and Mairead.

"The community has rallied together over the last few days to support all the families involved.  The sense of community spirit has brought the parish together helping to provide all the support and assistance we can humanly give.

"This tragedy has devastated the community and a sense of shock permeates the parish. This tragedy has reminded us of the goodness and kindness and generosity of this rural community here in south Donegal.

"We are today united in prayer for the deceased and continue to remember those injured in the accident."

Grandmother Margaret McGonagle, née McKenna, was born in Sligo in 1948, the funeral heard. She married and moved to Bruckless, Co Donegal in 1970 and had three children Roger, Geoffrey and Mairead.

"She dedicated her life to the home and children," said Fr Sweeney.

"When all children were reared Margaret returned to education and became an accredited counsellor. She was to the fore setting up the Donegal Rape Crisis in her early work and proceeded to work in different areas helping others with their trauma and difficulties."

Mairead Mundy, née McGonagle, was born in 1979 living in Bruckless all her life. In 2002 Mairead married Declan and they had a baby boy, Caoimhin. Declan passed away in 2009 before she met Pauric.

"A real home-bird, at the age of 18 Mairead moved to nearby Glenties, but after three days returned home to Mammy homesick," mourners heard.

"Mairead was a champion Irish dancer and danced in both the Ulster and All-Ireland competitions.

"Several years after Declan's death she was blessed to meet Pauric and they began a happy life together with Caoimhin. Having just celebrated their first wedding anniversary, it was tragically cut short by last week’s accident.  Mairead was much loved by many people, especially by Caoimhin, Pauric, her family and her friends.  Mairead will be sorely missed in all our hearts."

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