Friday 30 September 2016

'I was extremely blessed to have Michael as my baby brother' - Sister pays heartfelt tribute to tragic Michael Bugler

Gordon Deegan

Published 10/01/2016 | 17:50

Mourners carry the coffin of Michael Bugler (inset)
Mourners carry the coffin of Michael Bugler (inset)

The sister of NUIG law student Michael Bugler today spoke of the pain of losing her brother and that she will never be able to hear his beautiful voice or tell him that she loves him.

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In an emotional tribute before a packed St Peter & Paul Cathedral at Ennis this afternoon, Laura Bugler said that her brother, Michael (20) “will forever be in my heart and always be my baby brother”.

Last Thursday, Michael’s body was recovered from waters off Oranmore, Co Galway and chief mass celebrant, Fr Jerry Carey said that a recurring thought for him last Thursday was that “20 years ago, Michael was delivered from the protective waters of the womb and on Thursday last, he was delivered from the protective waters of Galway Bay”.

Michael had been missing since December 18th when he was last seen at 1am after he left the Quay’s pub in Galway city.

During the almost three week search, Laura posted Facebook updates on its progress and Fr Carey told mourners that “one thing that motivated an awful lot of us over these past days was Laura’s blogs”

He said: “An awful lot of people have mentioned the lovely, heartfelt, dignified way Laura kept people motivated to do the one thing that you wanted - to bring Michael home.”

A post on Michael Bugler's sister's Facebook page, showing Michael and Laura growing up
A post on Michael Bugler's sister's Facebook page, showing Michael and Laura growing up

“Fr Carey told Laura: "That is ultimately what happened and people believed in your persistence and for you, Laura and parents, Harry and Connie, it was your one desire over these past weeks.”

Laura is Michael’s only sibling and in her own words delivered by Fr Carey, Laura told mourners that “I am not even used to Michael being gone yet - I am so overwhelmed with emotions".

Members of the Garda Water Unit search for Michael Bugler, who went missing last month. Photo: Andy Newman
Members of the Garda Water Unit search for Michael Bugler, who went missing last month. Photo: Andy Newman

She said: “Anyone who knew Michael knew how much he loved his family - he was a beautiful person inside and out. I am so incredibly grateful and blessed to have shared this precious life as his sister.”

Mourners yesterday included President of NUIG, Dr James J Browne while one of the con-celebrants was former Bishop of Killaloe, Dr Willie Walsh.

Mourners carry the coffin at the funeral of Michael Bugler at Ennis Cathedral on Sunday
Mourners carry the coffin at the funeral of Michael Bugler at Ennis Cathedral on Sunday

In her tribute, Laura said that she felt “extremely blessed to have Michael as my baby brother for 20 years”.

She said: “It was only a short life and it was filled with love and laughter with so many amazing moments.”

She recalled that “when we were younger, our days were filled with our own private jokes much to the annoyance of our parents”.

Laura remarked that “it saddens me to think that I can no longer share these jokes with Michael”.

She said: “Michael was loved by everyone, when speaking to friends and family over the past days, it has become apparent that his lighthearted personality was one of his most loved qualities."

“Michael loved and was loved by many and that has been evident to his family over the past weeks by the numbers of people who were there so give support from near and far. He had such a good spirit and a huge heart."

Laura said that Michael’s friends “commented that there was always a gap in jokes and conversation in Michael’s absence. He was such an easy person to get along with, rarely refusing to partake in any activity".

She said that Michael had a great memory and this was evident in primary school with his involvement in school quizzes and she said that his pal, David said that he would be a dangerous man for a best man’s speech.

Laura said that it is “so painful to be here on this journey of losing my brother. I wish he was still here. His laughter has been greatly missed around the house. I am reminded everywhere I am that he is no longer here."

At the end of mass Laura herself read the words of a poem ‘Dear Parents…’ by Christy Kenneally that includes the line 'There are many who have lived long lives and have not been loved as me'.

During the offertory procession, a snooker cue, golf clubs, favourite toys from earlier years, school tops and photos of Michael and his family were offered up. 

Michael’s uncle, Paddy Bugler told the congregation “what has sustained Harry, Connie and Laura over the past three weeks or so was the overwhelming support from friends, colleagues, different services involved and the many people who were previously complete strangers”.

Offering thanks to everyone who have given support, Paddy Bugler said that “people’s capacity for compassion and a willingness to help was a great comfort to us as we struggled to get through the past few weeks”.

He said that "the level of support astounded, surprised and sustained the family through weeks following Michael’s disappearance”.

Michael Bugler was later laid to rest yesterday at St Finian’s cemetery in Quin village.

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