Saturday 29 April 2017

Natalie McGuinness Funeral: 'Our hearts are broken. Our beautiful irreplaceable daughter was taken from us'

The funeral of murder victim Natalie McGuinness at St. James's Church, Easkey, Co. Sligo.
Photo: James Connolly
31OCT15
The funeral of murder victim Natalie McGuinness at St. James's Church, Easkey, Co. Sligo. Photo: James Connolly 31OCT15

Paddy Clancy

A grieving father said his family's heart has been broken following the untimely death of their daughter Natalie McGuinness (23).

Natalie (23) was found dead in a house in Sligo earlier this week. A man has since been charged with murder.

Natalie McGuinness
Natalie McGuinness

At her funeral earlier today, Parish priest Fr Kevin Loftus told how a piece of paper with words of love written by Natalie hung on the wall of the front room of the family home where her body lay at Easkey, Co.Sligo.

It read: “Love every moment of every day. Love is beyond words."

The priest said: “It is a lovely motto to live by.”

Child-care worker Natalie, born on New Year’s Day, 1992, was described by mourners as “bubbly” and “a dynamo” at work.

But the most moving account of her life was related by her father John Joe as he fought back tears on the altar of St James Church in Easkey.

He told worshippers, who were also fighting back tears, how at various stages of her childhood Natalie wanted to do different things with her life.

She wanted to be a jockey and she had a horse called Costello which the rest of the family called “Costalot.”

Then she wanted to be a garda but her grandfather Sean McGuinness told her she was too small.

Instead, she took up boxing.

Natalie worked as a child-care volunteer with West Sligo Resource Centre in Enniscrone and, as a result of her studies in community care, she was due to be upgraded next week.

Her dad said: “She loved learning. We were so proud of her. She was the life and soul of the family.”

He recalled Natalie’s late night-chats with her only sister Jodie and her brother Dean couldn’t have had a better sibling.

“She was a great daughter – most of the time," her smiling father told the congregation, before adding: “She was a character –always stealing clothes from her sister and mother.”

Mr McGuinness said “People say time heals all wounds. I can tell you it can’t be true.

“Our hearts are broken. Our beautiful irreplaceable daughter was taken from us.”

As the congregation sympathised with Natalie’s mother Catherine and the family outside the church after Mass, Pat Hegarty, co-ordinator of the West Sligo Family Resource Centre, described her work with children.

"She was a dynamo”, he said. “She was an explosion of energy.”

Easkey village, dressed with Halloween statues all along the main street, was a sombre place as Natalie’s funeral cortege made its way out of town to her burial in the McGuinness family plot at Churchill Cemetery seven kilometres away at Dromore West.

Natalie was murdered at The Mews, Mailcoach Road, Sligo.

Oisin Conroy, 33, with an address at The Mews, Mail Coach Road, Sligo, was charged with her murder and put on suicide watch in custody by a on order of Judge Kevin Kilrane, at Sigo District Court last Thursday.

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