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Priest in warm tribute to 'wonderful' Armagh man Peter Breen who lost coronavirus battle two weeks after his wife died

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Fr McAnenly said Mrs Breen's death was a huge blow to her husband, while Mr Breen's passing caused great shock in the local community, especially as he died after contracting Covid-19. (stock photo)

Fr McAnenly said Mrs Breen's death was a huge blow to her husband, while Mr Breen's passing caused great shock in the local community, especially as he died after contracting Covid-19. (stock photo)

Fr McAnenly said Mrs Breen's death was a huge blow to her husband, while Mr Breen's passing caused great shock in the local community, especially as he died after contracting Covid-19. (stock photo)

A Co Armagh man who died from coronavirus at the weekend tragically passed away just two weeks after his beloved wife.

Peter Breen (77) and his late wife Sheila have been described as "wonderful people" by the administrator of the Cathedral Parish of Armagh, Fr Peter McAnenly.

They are both survived by their son Ciaran, daughter Helen Donnelly, daughter-in-law Linda, son-in-law Eamon, Mr Breen's brothers Joe and Sammy, grandchildren and the wider family circle.

Mr Breen, from Rock Road in Armagh, passed away on Saturday morning at Craigavon Area Hospital.

The family thanked the staff at the hospital for caring for him "so devotedly".

Due to the circumstances of Mr Breen's death, the funeral will be "strictly private".

Speaking on Sunday, Fr McAnenly said Mrs Breen's death was a huge blow to her husband, while Mr Breen's passing caused great shock in the local community, especially as he died after contracting Covid-19.

"I have known Peter and his wife Sheila for the last number of years and they were just wonderful people," he said.

"They were very committed parishioners here in Armagh. Sheila died just the week before last and her funeral mass was celebrated on St Patrick's Day.

"They were lovely people and have a lovely family. They have one son and one daughter.

"Obviously, Peter's wife's death was a big blow to him. Peter himself was just a very well regarded and well respected man here in the parish and here in the community.

"The news of his death is tragic and it has saddened the community greatly, particularly in the circumstances of his death. It has caused great shock."

A special vigil was held in St Malachy's Church in Armagh on Saturday evening, led by Fr McAnenly and curate Fr Thomas McHugh.

During the service Fr McAnenly said the Breen family wished to pass on their thanks to the healthcare team at Craigavon Area Hospital for looking after Mr Breen "over the past few days".

Fr McAnenly explained that while mourners and parishioners were unable to attend the chapel on Saturday evening due to the coronavirus outbreak, a "huge number" of people watched via webcam.

"I know that was a source of great comfort and strength to the family at this difficult time," he added.

"So many people in our community came together in prayer last night offering their support, their solidarity and prayers for the family."

During the service, prayers were offered to all those who had died from the virus and everyone who is currently battling Covid-19.

Earlier last week, the heartbroken daughter of Linda Wilson (64), who was originally from Greenisland, said her mother died not knowing that her brother had also passed away.

Carol Palmer's mother succumbed to the virus on Wednesday after being admitted to hospital on Mothering Sunday.

Meanwhile, the family of Magdalene Mitchell (80), who also passed away on Wednesday, spoke of their heartbreak at not getting to be by her side for her final moments.

In another heartbreaking coronavirus-related death, the daughter of Ruth Burke (82), who passed away in Antrim Area Hospital last Monday, told people to "wise up" and "do as they are told" to reduce the number of deaths.

Brenda Doherty said she was devastated that she could not kiss her mother goodbye or see her in her coffin. She pleaded with people to follow government advice over social distancing, saying those who did not comply were "selfish".

A total of 21 people have died after contracting Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.

Belfast Telegraph