Belfast Telegraph

Community of ‘broken hearts’ urged to drive carefully after crash kills four

West Donegal is in the eye of the storm of a national tragedy for Ireland, a priest said.

The funeral of Micheal Roarty (Michael McHugh/PA)
The funeral of Micheal Roarty (Michael McHugh/PA)

Mourners in a community full of “broken hearts” have been urged to drive with care after a crash killed four young men.

West Donegal is in the eye of the storm of a national tragedy for Ireland, a priest said.

Grieving families were left “shattered, distraught and bereft” by youthful lives cut short, Fr Sean O Gallchoir said.

The popular sportsmen were travelling in a Toyota Corolla hatchback when it crashed near a bridge on a minor road on Sunday.

Back-to-back funerals were held throughout the scenic and snowy area in the far north west on Thursday as thousands turned out in the bitter cold to pay their respects.

Life is busy, we are all in a rush and in a hurry, we all have deadlines - but deadlines sometimes can result in dead lives Fr Sean Gallchoir

The Catholic priest at Christ the King church in Gortahork appealed: “Drive with care, drive with attention, drive safely so that no harm will befall anybody.

“The car, as we can see, is a lethal weapon.”

Fr O Gallchoir added: “Life is busy, we are all in a rush and in a hurry, we all have deadlines – but deadlines sometimes can result in dead lives.

“We are all precious, fragile, brittle, easily broken.

“Our community is full of broken hearts.”

John Harley, 24, from Falcarragh, Daniel Scott, 23, from Gortahork, Shaun Harkin, 22, from Falcarragh and Micheal Roarty, 24, from Moneybeg, were killed in the single-vehicle collision near Magheraroarty, Gortahork.

Fr O Gallchoir addressed the funeral of Mr Scott on Thursday.

Father James Gillespie, parish priest at a packed St Finnian’s Church in nearby Falcarragh, said funeral Mass for Mr Harley.

He was a promising young man with a great future which was sadly cut short Fr James Gillespie

He recalled: “His mother (Ann Harley) said to me, throughout his whole life, he brought joy to the family.

“He was a promising young man with a great future which was sadly cut short.

“The legacy he has left, the achievements and memories we all have of him, will continue to enrich our lives and give us great joy in the years to come.”

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The funeral cortege of Shaun Harkin makes its way to Christ the King Church in Gortahork (Niall Carson/PA)

His friends described him as a brilliant mate and an “all-round nice guy”, as Fr Gillespie put it.

The clergyman paid tribute to all the bereaved families, suffering grief and pain mixed with disbelief, and said the local community had provided great support.

“It is great comfort to know that he meant so much to so many.

“People from all over the world have been here for the Harley family. He was a man who was admired and loved by all who met him.”

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The funeral of Micheal Roarty at Sacred Heart Church in Dunlewey (Niall Carson/PA)

A snow-clad Mount Errigal formed an imposing backdrop at picturesque Dunlewey as Mr Roarty’s remains were carried into Sacred Heart Church, mourners following behind.

Many wore the green and white colours of his Dunlewey Celtic soccer team. Others had the jersey of Mr Roarty’s Gweedore GAA club.

Three former team-mates carried trophies, and a green jersey was placed on the coffin at the doorway to the church.

A floral tribute in the hearse spelled out his nickname, Roycee.

His team-mates formed a guard of honour.

Inside the church, Father Brian O Fearraigh told mourners Mr Roarty was a “giant of a man”, loved by many because he loved many, and there was laughter wherever he went.

Local GAA clubs formed a guard of honour as Mr Harkin’s remains were taken up the icy driveway of Christ the King church in Gortahork on Thursday morning.

PA

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