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Remember the good times, mourners told at teen crash victim Piaras McElroy's funeral

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Mourners at the funeral of Piaras McElroy

Mourners at the funeral of Piaras McElroy

The guard of honour outside St Patrick's Church in Donagh

The guard of honour outside St Patrick's Church in Donagh

Piaras McElroy

Piaras McElroy

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Mourners at the funeral of Piaras McElroy

A teenager killed in a car crash should be remembered as "the wild and free one, the perfect one", a priest said yesterday.

Piaras McElroy (18) died when the vehicle he was driving was involved in a collision with another car and a van transporter in Co Fermanagh.

The accident occurred on the Moorlough Road between Lisnaskea and Newtownbutler on Monday.

Mr McElroy, from Drumma Lane in Lisnaskea, was the nephew of Sinn Fein MLA Sean Lynch.

Yesterday mourners gathered at St Patrick's Church in Donagh to pay their final respects.

Mr McElroy's parents Noel and Ruth and siblings Eimear and Teagan led hundreds of people into the church where Lisnaskea parish priest Fr Jimmy McPhillips described the tragedy as a forceful reminder "that sometimes people die far too young, and far too tragic".

Addressing mourners, Fr McPhillips said: "Since Monday night, this community and surrounding communities gathered here this morning, we have been forced into recognising some very hard realities about life.

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"But having been forcibly brought face-to-face with these realities, having no choice but to deal with them right now, we have to choose how we will respond to Piaras's going.

"One of our choices is, of course, to express our sorrow, our anger and our grief, as we all do here today, and rightly so, and that's good and healthy to do so.

"We also join our voices together in our prayers of lament. And we name openly our loss and our anger and our confusion at this time. And we give ourselves permission to ask, Why? Why has it happened? And to wonder what life is going be like now without Piaras within the family and within his large circle of friends.

"By doing all this, and by asking all these questions even if the questions have no answers, I think we are helped a little along that road of coping.

"Another way of trying to cope is to tell the stories and to share the memories."

Fr McPhillips told the many young people in the congregation to remember all the good times they shared with their friend and not to be afraid to pray to him.

He said: "I asked Ruth and Noel was there anything they wanted me to say to you and they said: 'Tell them to focus on the good times'.

"And I think that's very good advice, for the heartache of his going is there, and will be there, that cannot be avoided, but when you now think of Piaras, don't think about that pain, just focus on the good times that you had together.

"Think of all those woolly caps that he wore, think of all the happy things, the happy memories, those memories of the chilled one, the happy one, the man that never complained.

"The gentleman, the spontaneous one, the unique one with the big hair.

"Happy memories and your memories are so important of the young one, the wild and free one, the perfect one, all of these will get you through these terrible times right now.

"Don't be afraid or embarrassed to pray to Piaras, for he will continue to be there for you," Fr McPhillips added.

"His good spirit will carry you through these days and weeks ahead.

"To you, Piaras's friends, be like him, be an example, a good example like he was in the way you speak and behave.

"And so we now hand Piaras back to his God, for he is now in the hands of God once again, and no pain he now has.

"And while his leaving you all now looks like a disaster, like the end of everything, remember that Piaras is now at peace, and great will now be his blessing."

Mr McElroy was laid to rest in the adjoining cemetery.


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