Monday 19 November 2018

Family of young chess champion Philip praised as he is laid to rest

NIAMH HORAN and  MAEVE SHEEHAN

The family of Philip Hogarty, the young chess champion who died after being struck by a garda car on New Year's Day, were praised yesterday for the compassion they have extended to garda members involved in the tragedy.

Speaking to the congregation at St Thomas' Church in Jobstown, Tallaght, Fr Charlie Hoey said the Hogarty family should be admired for their bravery.

Referring to their act of kindness, Fr Hoey said: "It's easy to see where Philip got his values from."

During the service, his mother's partner John spoke from the altar, thanking the medical services and the gardai for their help in their time of tragedy. However, he was so overcome with grief he had to return to his seat.

Friends and chess colleagues of the young man, joined garda members and local politicians -- including former Labour leader Pat Rabbitte, Minister of State Conor Lenihan and TD Charlie O' Connor -- in the church to pay their respects to a teenager described as "one of the most genuine people you could meet".

As a female soloist sang a poignant melody, a chess board was brought to the altar as a representation of the passion the gifted player had for the game. During the ceremony, spontaneous rounds of applause went up as family and friends paid tribute to his "wonderful personality".

Childhood friend Darren McCabe spoke of how the avid chess fan had always given so much time to new members of the society.

"He was so pleasant and kind to everyone in the club and he was always offering his time and expertise to encourage up and coming players."

Meanwhile, close friend Paul Leavy portrayed him as an "outstanding player" who was "one of the most down to earth, easygoing guys you could ever meet."

As his heartbroken parents Kay and David, and sisters Emma and Fiona, followed the coffin out into the morning sunshine, a family member tightly clutched a giant silver chess trophy that Mr Hogarty had won.

The 19-year-old, chairman of the Irish Chess Union, was rated as one of the best junior chess players in the country.

An investigation into the death has established that the garda driver was responding to a call-out when the tragic accident occurred.

The youngster was attempting to cross the road when the tragedy occurred.

According to garda sources, he tried to double back towards the footpath when he saw the approaching car, but the patrol car swerved in the same direction knocking him down. The speed at which the car was travelling and whether the call-out was classed as an emergency, are factors that will be investigated by the Garda Ombudsman Commission, which launched an inquiry into the circumstances of Mr Hogarty's death.

The accident occurred at around 2.30am on the Blessington Road in Tallaght, as Mr Hogarty, who had got off a Nitelink bus, was crossing the road and heading towards his home in Jobstown. He had been celebrating with friends in the city.

Mr Hogarty was chairman of the Irish Chess Union for the past year. In a tribute posted on the Rathmines Chess Club's website, school friend and fellow chess enthusiast, Darren McCabe recalled how he met Philip in primary school, where they both took up the game.

"Chess was Phil's passion. He loved the game more than any other person I know. He travelled up and down the country and across the world to play the game he loved. On the board he was ruthless in his pursuit of victory.

"Off the board he was the most genuine and down to earth guy you're likely to ever come across. He was always up for a laugh, a few pints and a game of blitz.

"Irish chess has lost a top bloke, a great player and an even better friend. I've lost my greatest rival and a great friend. Chess will never be the same again for me," he said.

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