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Tuesday 20 August 2019

'Alcohol put us here today' says grieving dad at funeral

Stephen Mungovan
Stephen Mungovan

Dan Danaher

A grieving father of six appealed for an end to the "frightening culture of excessive drinking" among young people.

Danny Mungovan was speaking at the funeral mass for his son Stephen (20), who was found by navy divers in the waters off Spanish Point, Co Clare, last week.

Addressing the packed congregation in the Star of the Sea Church, and hundreds of mourners who stood in silence outside, Mr Mungovan said: "I don't want anyone going out tonight or any other night drowning their sorrows in Stephen's name. The culture of excess drinking with young people is frightening.

"It was alcohol that has put us here today. We wouldn't be here and we wouldn't have the problem only for that. People might call me a dinosaur. I came from a different time when people like me and those around me didn't drink and we were still able to live a life.

"If we want a monument to Stephen, let us start now so that other children don't wind up in the same position because they do not know what they are doing."

This is the second time tragedy has struck the family. Michael Mungovan (22) was struck by a train while he was working at Vauxhall Station, south London, on October 9, 2000.

Mr Mungovan added: "I am not anti-drink. People can go out have a drink and have fun, but know how you came home with your friends safely.

"Stay alive. We were blessed with six lovely children. We were blessed with our business and have met so many lovely people over the years. A third of our family has been taken out. If I want any memorial, I would like a change in the drink culture, which is frightening."

On the previous Saturday, Stephen had been in the same church for Michael's anniversary mass.

Afterwards, he said he had received a very positive reaction from people.

He added: “We will never be able to thank people enough [for their efforts in the search]. We knew the weather was breaking the following day.”

“I said to many people, if we don’t get Stephen today, am I going to spend the next 10 years or whatever time I have looking out at this beautiful sea and wondering where is Stephen.”

Mullagh parish priest, Fr Anthony McMahon, who was the chief celebrant, said it took a lot of strength and composure to deliver such a "powerful message...on the day of his son's funeral".

The priest added: "He was a very popular young man who made friends easily. He was a bright spark who lit up every room he went into with his infectious fun and banter."

Irish Independent

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