Expats tune into relatives' funerals online
AT LEAST two Irish funeral services are being watched online every week by mourners living outside Ireland.
Funerals Live was set up almost a year ago to enable emigrants and relatives living in far-flung countries to take part in the grieving process in the event of a family bereavement, without having to travel back to Ireland.
Alan Foudy, the Co Clare-based entrepreneur behind the venture, said the service has proved so successful, he now intends to launch it in the UK in the coming months.
He said: "I'm very pleased with how it has gone. We knew there was a market for it, with hundreds of thousands of people having emigrated from Ireland in the past few years.
"We've covered almost 100 funerals at this stage all round the country, mainly for mourners in Australia, the US and Canada.
"My next step is to launch in the UK, which is a potentially huge market. And I'm looking to do that in June or July of this year."
The private broadcasts on the website are made available online no more than two hours after the funeral service takes place.
Foudy, a 34-year-old father of three, also said that he has encountered no opposition from parish priests to date about filming entire funeral ceremonies, including the burial.
He added: "It's a very professional, discreet and respectful service that we provide. We make sure we respect the sensitivity of the occasion and the filming is not intrusive and takes place at an appropriate distance away, so as not to disrupt the ceremony.
"If someone is interested in using the service, I tell them to contact the parish priest first to get permission. And so far, all the priests have been happy enough with it.
"In most cases, it's the parents of the deceased or the chief mourner who pays for the service, enabling friends of family living abroad to participate in the funeral."
Foudy also said the service could in the future become popular with mourners in hospitals, nursing homes and even in prison.
For more information, see funeralslive.ie