Tuesday 21 November 2017

A lesson in courage, dignity and character

We saw the best of the often maligned values of south Dublin's so-called 'rugby schools' in the last week

Mourners at the funeral of Berkeley tragedy victim Eoghan Culligan at the Church of the Annunciation, Rathfarnham.
Mourners at the funeral of Berkeley tragedy victim Eoghan Culligan at the Church of the Annunciation, Rathfarnham.
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

I had not intended to return to the subject of the Berkeley tragedy this week. At the end of last week it felt like time to leave the families alone with their grief. And, indeed, there were requests for privacy. It quickly became apparent that this was not going to happen and the return of the victims and their funerals were going to be public events. No doubt it will be discussed at another time whether or not this should have happened. For now I think it is worth parking that and reflecting on what did happen this past week and the impact it had.

It felt at times as if the families had accepted that their children were now, in that phrase, the children of Ireland, and their funeral would be public events. And one can only hope that they took some consolation in the fact that the nation seemed to mourn with them.

I am not normally one for public grieving of people I didn't know, but I'll admit that like a lot of people, I found myself moved to tears watching the funeral coverage on the news during the week and reading the accounts of eulogies by family members.

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