Friday 20 October 2017

Funeral priest says city 'held to ransom'

Fr Coghlan said the violence of the past days has held the city to ransom, and he commended the gardaí for protecting the city on the day of the funeral
Fr Coghlan said the violence of the past days has held the city to ransom, and he commended the gardaí for protecting the city on the day of the funeral

David Kearns

The priest who officiated at the funeral of murder victim David Byrne said he drew inspiration from a poem written about the Troubles for his sermon.

Fr Niall Coghlan, parish priest at Meath Street, gave the sermon at the funeral of Byrne, who was shot dead during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel.

"I had to sit down and try and think 'what do you say here?'. I talked to my colleagues, I got advice, I talked to my community about it. I got advice from them," he said.

"I was very much inspired by a poem by one of my Augustinians, Padraig Daly. One of his poems about Northern Ireland was [about] the shooting of a soldier. He said 'they decided not to look'. That was my inspiration. If somebody looks at a person and really sees them for what they are, it's impossible to kill anybody."

Fr Coghlan said the violence of the past days has held the city to ransom, and he commended the gardaí for protecting the city on the day of the funeral. Speaking about the lavish display and the cost of the flowers, Fr Coghlan said he was "not responsible for how people conduct their funerals".

He told RTÉ's Liveline: "I honestly wasn't even aware of the extent of it until I got to the graveyard. There wasn't any kind of that display in the church … it was a quiet, respectful affair. I was conscious of the context [of] the funeral but every baptised Christian, no matter who they are, we have no choice but to conduct a funeral service for them ... we place them in the mercy of God."

Irish Independent

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