Friday 19 January 2018

Fathers share their heartbreak over murders of Michaela and Nicola

Mickey Harte met Andrew Furlong (on left) last night. Photo: Patrick Browne
Mickey Harte met Andrew Furlong (on left) last night. Photo: Patrick Browne

Sarah MacDonald

TWO fathers whose daughters were murdered abroad shared their heartbreak at a Catholic festival of faith.

Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte and Wexford man Andrew Furlong spoke privately to one another for several minutes at the Eucharistic Gathering in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, where Mr Harte was one of the key speakers.

Mr Harte's daughter Michaela McAreavey was murdered while on honeymoon with her husband John in Mauritius in January 2011.

Mr Furlong's daughter Nicola was murdered in Japan in May 2012.

At the gathering at St Aidan's Cathedral, Mr Harte spoke of his heartbreak over the death of Michaela, an only daughter in a family of four, and of how his faith had helped him deal with her loss.

He told a full church that her death had "changed the world" for his family but said he did not feel anger with God over the "dreadful" tragedy.


Mr Harte said he saw Michaela's life as "a gift from God that we would like to have had for longer – but we had 27 years of a great life gifted to us".

Asked about this week's court ruling in Mauritius over editor Imram Hosany's publication of photographs from the crime scene at the hotel where Michaela was strangled, Mr Harte told the Irish Independent it was "disgusting behaviour".

"It will never be anything other than disgusting but I don't feel there is any point in letting it take my peace away and it doesn't take my peace away," he said.

He warned the congregation that those who had suffered a tragic loss could either become consumed by grief or they could seek to move the dark cloud back little by little – even if the grief was always there.

He urged them to "do as much good and as little harm as you can."

Irish Independent

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