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Thousands come to pay final respects at funeral

THEY came from all over the country and from the other side of the world to pay their final respects.

President Mary McAleese and her husband Dr Martin McAleese were among the first to extend their sympathies to the grieving families following yesterday's Requiem Mass.

The High Commissioner of Mauritius in the UK, Abhimanyu Kundasamy, represented the government of Mauritius at the funeral.

Among the thousands of mourners in attendance were church, political and sporting leaders from North and South.

The Taoiseach, Brian Cowen was represented by his aide-de-camp, Capt Michael Tracey and the Northern executive was represented by Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister at Stormont.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie were also in attendance as were ministers, MLAs, mayors and councillors from across the political divide.

Also present was the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland Cardinal Sean Brady and Archbishop Dermot Clifford, patron of the GAA.

The Church of Ireland was represented by the Bishop of Down and Dromore, Harold Miller and the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Ken Goode.

GAA president, Christy Cooney and its director general, Paraic Duffy, were also in attendance.


The sporting organisation, a prominent part of both John and Michaela's lives, was also represented at Ulster and county, as well as club level.

Brian Dooher, the captain of the Tyrone senior football team read the first reading while the second was read by Johnnie McDermot, chairman of Tullylish, John's home club.

Among those who delivered prayers of the faithful was John Devine, goalkeeper in the All Ireland senior Tyrone team.

Joining Bishop McAreavey on the altar yesterday were concelebrants: Fr Michael Seery, parish priest of Ballymacilroy; Monsignor Aidan Hamill of St Peter's Lurgan; Monsignor Eoin Thynne, head chaplain of the Irish Defence Forces; Fr Gerard McAleer, who managed the Tyrone team along with Mickey Harte; Fr Gerard Powell, parish priest of Tullylish; and Fr Peter McAnenly, chaplain of St Patrick's Academy in Dungannon where Michaela taught Irish and Religious Education.

On behalf of the Harte and McAreavey families, Bishop McAreavey paid tribute to the local Errigal Ciaran club and the Tyrone senior football team that had helped organise transport and hospitality at the Harte home during the two-day wake and performed guards of honour at yesterday's ceremony.

The bishop also acknowledged the assistance of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin and members of the Irish Diplomatic Service and British diplomats who had helped the families in Mauritius.

He also paid tribute to the local clergy and Irish missionaries on the island who had offered support to John following the killing of his wife.

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Irish Independent