Tuesday 20 August 2019

Heartbroken parents pay tribute to their 'star' at funeral

Mourners carry Jack’s coffin at his funeral
Mourners carry Jack’s coffin at his funeral

Ralph Riegel

The heartbroken parents of a Tipperary teenager who died after the suspected ingestion of a substance at a music festival hailed him as their "star".

John and Elaine Downey urged the friends of their only child, Jack (19), to now "look after each other" as the teenager's Requiem Mass was told Clonmel was "all dried up" from the tears shed over the tragedy at the Indiependence music festival in Mitchelstown, Co Cork,

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Hundreds gathered at St Oliver's Church in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, yesterday. Fr Michael Hegarty told the packed congregation that "now was not the time for analysing or for offering magic solutions.

"Now is the time for prayer and for supporting the family and all Jack's neighbours and friends."

The Clonmel teenager died last Monday in Cork University Hospital (CUH) having spent three days on a life-support machine after falling ill at the music festival.

John and Elaine Downey paid emotional tributes to their son after Requiem Mass.

"I am not one for fancy words," John Downey said. "He [Jack] was almost 11lbs when he was born - he was a big man even then."

Mr Downey, a Tipperary garda, urged his son's friends to care for each other. "There is no blame. He will be missed - his friends are now to look after each other and not forget. I used to sit back and just admire him - he was a man with a presence. A cheeky little smile. He was a fabulous boy and I am proud to call him my son," he sobbed.

Elaine Downey wept as she described her son as "the star" of his entire family.

"Jack William Downey - you were the love of my life," she said. "From the bottom of my heart I want to thank everyone here today, especially all the young people, for doing so much to help our family."

She outlined the offertory gifts as symbols of her son's life and loves. They included a Clonmel Og GAA jersey, a hurley, a sliothar, a calculator, a hurley repair kit and a sports book.

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