'We're paralysed by grief and suspended in disbelief', mourners told at funeral of tragic dad-of-six who died in floods car crash
Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen was among the mourners who attended to offer their condolences to the family at the funeral mass
A close knit community was united in grief as hundreds attended the funeral of talented and much loved musician Paddy Buckley in Pollagh, Co Offaly today.
The 38-year-old father of six was tragically killed when his car crashed into a flooded area close to his home in Pollagh last Sunday.
The village was brought to a standstill as his remains were taken from his home to St Mary's Church for 11am funeral mass. On arrival at the church, which was unable to accommodate the throng of mourners who came to pay their respects, he was given a guard of honour by St Mary's National School students and Naomh Ciaran GAA club.
Chief celebrant Fr James MacKiernan said the community has been "paralysed by grief, we are suspended in disbelief."
"In this wonderfully close knit community of Pollagh, we are visibly shaken since we heard about the unexpected and premature death of Paddy Buckley, someone who was known, loved and respected by so many," he said.
"His family and this community are numb since the reality of these tragic events began to unfold on Sunday, which happened to be the Feast of the Holy Family," he remarked.
He said "the enormity of the tragedy overwhelmed everything else that day and the Feast of the Holy Family turned into despair and disbelief for the Buckley and Molloy families. From that day on the Feast of the Holy Family will be remembered as the day that Paddy Buckley died."
Fr MacKiernan said "today there is an enormous emptiness in all our hearts because Paddy was so much part of the community."
"Paddy was so young, he was so full of life, so full of talent, so full of giving. His work in this world was far from completed. He was in the prime of his life, he was healthy, he was strong, he still had so much to do, so much to live," added Fr MacKiernan.
Members of Paddy's family brought gifts including darts, a deck of cards, his wedding album to represent his love for his wife and family, a can of Guinness to symbolise his love for socialising and a USB stick as a token of his talent with technical equipment.
His sister Martina brought his "beloved guitar" which represented "not only the astonishing musician he was, but also his fantastic love of music and the joy and pleasure they had entertaining people as 'Persuade' over the last 16 years."
A family photo was placed on Paddy's coffin to recall the "wonderful family man that Paddy was and the love he had for them."
Paddy's brother James payed tribute to the fire services, gardai, paramedics, hospital staff and the clergy. He also thanked the musicians, caterers, stewards and all who had assisted with the funeral.
"To the community of Pollagh and surrounding areas, words can described the great help and support you all were to us," he told the congregation. "And finally, to Paddy, thanks for the years you shared, the great memories, go raibh, míle, míle maith agam a Phádraig."
Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen was among the mourners who attended to offer their condolences to the family at the funeral mass.
Paddy was laid to rest in Boher Cemetery following the funeral mass. He is survived by his wife Margaret and children, Georgina, Britney, Brandon, Lauren, Billy and Adam, his mother Carmel, brothers James and Martin, sisters Gillian Anderson and Martina Daly.