Wednesday 28 September 2016

'He wasn't just my dad he was Big Al and I was little Al' - Son pays emotional tribute at funeral of tragic Alan Harris

Wishes to use Alan's beloved Dublin BlueBird van at funeral comes true

Published 13/06/2015 | 12:28

Pall bearers carry the coffin of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, into St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12, for the funeral service.
Pall bearers carry the coffin of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, into St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12, for the funeral service.
Pall bearers carry the coffin of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, into St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12, for the funeral service. (Photo: Conor O'Mearain)
The funeral cortege of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, arrives at St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12, with Alan’s converted Dubs van (Photo: Conor O'Mearain)
The funeral of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12. (Photo: Conor O'Mearain)
A mourner with a specially printed T-Shirt, which reads, ‘Alan The Machine Harris’, at the funeral of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12. (Photo: Conor O'Mearain)
A mourner brings a floral wreath at the funeral of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12. (Photo: Conor O'Mearain)
The funeral cortege of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, arrives at St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12 (Photo: Conor O'Mearain)
The mother of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, arrives at St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12. (Photo: Conor O'Mearain)
Alan Harris (45) and his younger brother Steve (32) in an image posted by their cousin, Irish footballer Robbie Keane, to his Facebook
Alan and Steve Harris' cousin, soccer star Robbie Keane
Alan Harris
The late Alan Harris with his wife Tracy Pic: Facebook
The late Alan Harris with his wife Tracey Pic: Facebook

The son of Alan Harris (45) has paid an emotional tribute at the funeral of his father, who died last Wednesday while working on a sewer in Portmarnock.

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The congregation stood in solidarity with Alan Jnr, in the Church of St Agnes in Crumlin this morning, as he described the love he had for his father.

"I just want to say thanks to everybody for coming here today and showing your support for my dad - it's just the vision of how many people he touched in his life, he wasn't just my dad he was everyone's Big Al and I was little Al," he said.

Alan Snr died when he was overcome by toxic fumes while working on the sewer.

Pall bearers carry the coffin of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, into St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12, for the funeral service. (Photo: Conor O'Mearain)
Pall bearers carry the coffin of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, into St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12, for the funeral service. (Photo: Conor O'Mearain)
The funeral cortege of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, arrives at St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12, with Alan’s converted Dubs van being used as a hearse
PIC SHOWS: Pall bearers carry the coffin of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, into St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12, for the funeral service. SAT 13-6-15
The funeral cortege of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, arrives at St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12, with Alan’s converted Dubs van (Photo: Conor O'Mearain)
The funeral of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12. (Photo: Conor O'Mearain)
A mourner with a specially printed T-Shirt, which reads, ‘Alan The Machine Harris’, at the funeral of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12. (Photo: Conor O'Mearain)
A mourner brings a floral wreath at the funeral of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12. (Photo: Conor O'Mearain)
The funeral cortege of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, arrives at St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12 (Photo: Conor O'Mearain)
The mother of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, arrives at St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12. (Photo: Conor O'Mearain)
PIC SHOWS: Pall bearers carry the coffin of toxic fumes victim, Alan Harris, into St. Agnes Church, Crumlin, Dublin 12, for the funeral service. SAT 13-6-15

His brother Stephen (34), went down to save him, but he too was overcome by the fumes and he passed away yesterday morning.

"Stephen tried to save my dad's life, to Stephen," said Alan Jnr this morning, while holding a clasped fist in the air and to a round of applause from the congregation.

Parish Priest Father David Fleming said that today was a day of "mixed emotions," and little answers for the Harris families.

"On this sad day we have very few answers, we ask why Alan could not be left to his family any longer, we cannot explain.

The late Alan Harris with his wife Tracy
Pic: Facebook
The late Alan Harris with his wife Tracy Pic: Facebook

"We have many mixed feelings and emotions, anger, sadness, helplessness, despair and we also grieve the sudden and untimely loss of Alan," said Fr Fleming.

In a packed church, where mourners stood in the aisles, there were floral tributes in blue and white flowers for the father-of-two and photos of him and his brother Stephen.

Alan Harris
Alan Harris

Alan's grieving wife Tracy and daughter Nicole were in attendance as were his brothers, David, Mark, Derek, Darren and sister Grainne and mother Gertrude.

His family's wishes, to use Alan's BlueBird bus at the funeral, came true. It accompanied the hearse covered in photos of the devoted father and Dubs fan.

His cousin, soccer star, Robbie Keane, who was to play in Ireland's Euro qualifier against Scotland this evening, was not seen at the funeral.

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