'Goodbye, dad: you are my world and my hero' - crash victim Abbie
The daughter of tragic Martin Finn has paid tribute to her "hero" father who died saving her life in a road accident.
Martin (60) died after he was struck by an SUV while walking along the Newcastle Road, west Dublin, last week.
He was returning from feeding horses with his daughter Abbie (18) when they were both struck from behind. They had been walking back to meet Martin's wife Carol, who was parked nearby when the tragedy struck.
Martin pushed Abbie to one side and took the impact of the collision last Tuesday.
Abbie was seriously injured, but Martin, from Gurteen Avenue in Ballyfermot, died shortly afterwards.
Abbie was brought to attend her father's funeral at St Matthew's Church in Ballyfermot in an ambulance to join her mother, family and friends to bid goodbye to her dad, known to most as 'Whacker'. The teenager, whose head was braced by metal rods attached to a collar on her shoulders to prevent damage to her spinal cord, made her way to the altar at the invitation of Fr Joe McDonald.
"I'm only here because of them, and because of my dad, my hero, whose last gift to me was to save my life," she said.
"My dad was my best friend. We had a special bond like no other. I would also like to thank my mother, who has always been my rock throughout my whole life."
Abbie also had a special message for the driver involved in the accident.
"We would like you to know we are praying for you and your family. We wish we could ease your pain," she said. "We do not want my dad's legacy to be your suffering, as that is the last thing he would want."
She also thanked the fire crews, and paramedics, as well as the doctor, nurses and surgeons of Tallaght and the Mater Hospital, who worked to try to save her dad's life and have been providing her with medical treatment.
Abbie also thanked her baby son Arthur, who was born on November 1, saying he would be of comfort to her throughout this time.
There were fond memories of horse-lover Martin, too, and his sense of humour, even when he saw the funny side after a stallion once bolted while he had his hand wrapped with the rope securing him, and Martin got dragged through horse dung and nettles.
"My dad loved horses just as much as I do. He left me his legacy of his love for animals which I, in turn, will pass on to baby Arthur. My dad might have been just one man in the world to everyone, but to me he was my world, my best friend, my hero, all in one. I promise to live a great life, full of the fullest potential, for him," Abbie said, to applause from the mourners.
Fr McDonald told the mourners that Martin's death and funeral were an "unspeakably sad, and tragic occasion, when we bring the heartache of his passing to the altar".
He praised Abbie for her strength and courage in speaking, considering her grief and the extent of her own injuries.
"It was extraordinarily brave what Abbie did at the start of the Mass. She really wanted to do that. Abbie used the word 'legacy', and no doubt when Arthur is growing up, we'll see that in his genes and he'll hear about his granddad, who loved dogs and loved horses," he said.
Following the Mass, Martin's remains were brought to Newlands Cross cemetery for burial.