Principal pays tribute to tragic teenager
THE principal of the school where tragic Andrew Clarke attended has paid a glowing tribute to the late teenager.
Fr Leonard Moloney, principal of Clongowes Wood College in Co Kildare, told the Irish Independent that the son of restaurateurs Derry and Sallyanne Clarke was "a loveable rogue" who was extremely popular among his peers.
The 16-year-old lost his battle for life on Monday at Tallaght Hospital.
The car-racing fanatic was rushed from the family home in Saggart, Co Dublin, last week, after he was found lying unconscious in his garage.
His mother found him and called the emergency services.
Fr Moloney said staff and pupils at the Clane secondary school were devastated by the news.
"Andrew was a loveable rogue, who was mad about cars and incapable of telling a lie. He was a very popular student and was a terrifically practical guy who was very honest and was pleasant company.
"He had a real impish grin – so you just naturally liked him and got the sense that he was very easy going," he said.
"When I rang people to let them know the news, their reaction was complete shock and sadness.
"There's so much empathy and sympathy for his parents and of course his sister, too. There's never a good time, but this death was particularly sad."
A removal service for Andrew will be conducted by Fr Michael Sheil on Friday evening at the Boys' Chapel on the school grounds.
The funeral Mass, conducted by Fr Moloney, will take place at 11am on Saturday before burial at Mount Jerome Cemetery.
"I'm just going to try and give people hope and faith during a time of great sadness," he said.
"The parents will be speaking themselves, too. We're expecting a huge congregation and although we're having it in the main chapel, we're setting up the one next door as well for people."
Fr Moloney said the Clarkes were insistent the school re-open as planned this weekend.