'Lorna's kindness will always be remembered by all she touched'
More than 1,000 mourners packed a church to pay their respects to Lorna Carty who was among the three Irish victims of the Tunisian beach massacre a week ago.
Heartbroken family - including the victim's husband, dairy farmer Declan, their children Simon (21) and Hazel (18), parents John and Amy Harlin, and siblings Ruth, Jim, Brian and Ronan - joined hundreds of family, friends, neighbours and colleagues who were among the overflow crowd that crammed into the church and grounds of the Church of the Assumption in Robinstown, Co Meath to mourn the tragic loss of the much-loved local nurse.
Members of the local Dunderry GAA club, where Mrs Carty volunteered as a medic, joined players from the Co Meath GAA football team who formed a guard of honour as her flower-laden cortege pulled silently through the church gates.
More than a dozen nurses and other colleagues from the Bedford Medical Centre in nearby Navan, where Lorna worked, wore their pink and navy uniforms to the service in tribute to their beloved colleague. Other community members made and distributed tea, scones and sandwiches to their fellow mourners and set up chairs to accommodate the overflow crowd that spilled past the church gates and onto the village streets.
Along with church and government dignitaries, including jobs minister Richard Bruton and Iman Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri of the Coolmines Islamic Centre, aides de camp representing President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny attended, as did family of fellow massacre victims Martina and Larry Hayes from Athlone, Co Westmeath.
Like the entire community who turned out in a show of solidarity with the Carty family, they too came to grieve the senseless slaughter of Lorna Carty and 37 other holidaymakers who were gunned down on the beach resort at Sousse by an Isil terrorist.
Declan Carty, Lorna's husband and childhood sweetheart - whose recent recovery from heart surgery inspired what was supposed to be a dream holiday for the couple - walked frailly into the church, embracing their children. Inside the church, local parish priest, Fr Noel Horneck, delivered his homily in which he said the entire community mourns the loss of a kind and caring woman who was much-loved.
"We are all so sorry. We feel along with you today. We too mourn the loss of Lorna," he said. "All of you benefited from her care and concern. Her goodness, her kindness, will always be remembered and appreciated and spoken of."
Mourners queued patiently to sign books of condolence before accompanying Lorna on her final journey to Retaine Cemetery where she was buried.