Victim's mother thanks parish for kindness
THE MOTHER of a young woman killed alongside her friend and two children yesterday thanked a small local community for its compassion and kindness.
Maria Dempsey addressed the congregation at the Funeral Mass for her daughter Alicia Brough (20) in St Peter's Church, Rockchapel, Co Cork, yesterday.
Supported by her husband Paul, Mrs Dempsey paid tribute to people all over the country and in England who had contacted the family to offer their condolences.
"I just want to say thank you to everyone here and everyone in the country and in England who have been so kind in the words they've said to us," she said.
"This is tragic what happened and our family's lives have been changed forever and I'm sorry to see so much grief and I wish it wasn't so.
"There are no words left to be said except thank you ... the people of this parish are so kind and so compassionate and thank you all."
She then sang a prayer 'The Circle' in memory of her daughter.
About 100 mourners joined Ms Brough's extended family and friends for the Mass which was celebrated by Fr Denis Stritch, parish priest of Rockchapel and Meelin, and by Fr Richard Keane of Newcastle West and Fr Anthony O'Sullivan from Brosna. In his homily, Fr Stritch said the whole parish had come together in shock and sadness and in grief and pain as it struggled to comprehend what had happened.
"Alicia's death brought a great sense of loss and emptiness to many people, especially her own family. Today on behalf of all the people of the community I offer our sincere sympathy, our prayers and our support," Fr Stritch said.
"Alicia was a kind, caring and loving person who was always ready to help family and friends and all those in need.
"She loved life and she had a great love of animals and those closest to her have many memories of her kindness which they will continue to share with each other today and in the days, weeks and months ahead.
"May these memories give them strength and may you all share Alicia's qualities of caring and kindness as we help them to cope with their great loss."
Fr Stritch extended his sympathy to the family of Sarah Hines and her two children, Reese (three) and Amy (five months) who also lost their lives in Newcastle West last week.
Ms Brough's brothers and sister Josiah (15), Isaac (13), Jacob (nine), Eoghan (five) and Hannah (three) took part in yesterday's moving ceremony bringing symbols to the altar representing their big sister's life including a Cork jersey and a Harry Potter book.
Her grandfather Tony carried a bar of chocolate, representing her greatest vice and her friend, John Dutoit read a poem.
Among the floral tributes was a card from her parents which read: "Alicia we love you so much and forever."
A simple bunch of wildflowers lying on the coffin was a poignant reminder of the simple life Ms Brough and her family had dreamed of when they moved from Staffordshire six years ago. Her remains were cremated yesterday evening at a private ceremony.
The funeral of Ms Hines and her two children will take place in Tournafulla, Co Limerick, at 11.30am on Thursday.