Mary Coughlan bids an emotional farewell to her beloved husband
Former Tanaiste Mary Coughlan broke down in tears as she bid an emotional farewell to her husband at his funeral yesterday.
Garda David Charlton (48) died last Saturday after a five-month battle with lung cancer. He had survived a car crash 13 years ago but lost a leg in the incident.
Ms Coughlan walked behind the coffin from their home in the quiet Co Donegal village of Frosses to the local parish church of St Mary's.
Her children, Maeve (13) and Cathal (15), walked alongside her as the coffin, draped in the Tricolour and with Garda Charlton's cap on top, was carried by officers from Glenties station where he had been based.
As the cortege arrived at the church, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan presented the flag to Ms Coughlan, kissing her on the cheek and shaking hands with her children.
The former TD wept before wiping away her tears and steadying herself, looking to her children beside her.
Many former political colleagues were there to offer her their support. Ex-Taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen were among more than 1,500 mourners, as was current Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and former ministers Dermot Ahern, Brendan Smyth and Eamon O Cuiv.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny had paid his respects at the wake on Monday night and was represented by his aide-de-camp Comdt Michael Tracy. President Michael D Higgins was represented by Col Brendan McAndrew.
The North's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness also attended.
"He was a good husband, a good policeman and a good father," parish priest Fr John McLoone told mourners, most of them forced to stand outside the packed church.
He said Garda Charlton, a native of Co Mayo, had told him last Saturday that he was looking forward to last Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final clash with Dublin.
"But it wasn't to be. I have no doubt that David with his good strong faith had a great seat at that All-Ireland semi-final," said Fr McLoone.
The late garda's brother, Pauric, addressed mourners at the end of the Mass telling them: "I actually think he was the extra man who helped Mayo beat Dublin."
A traditional Mayo air was played at the end before Garda Charlton was laid to rest at nearby Cranny Cemetery where a garda bugler played the last post.