MOURNERS who are unable to pay their last respects in person can now attend a "virtual funeral" online.
Alan Foudy (34), from Ennis, Co Clare, has come up with an innovative way for the family of a deceased loved one to attend their funeral without leaving home.
Using the latest technology, his company, Funerals Live, offers a live stream of the funeral that can be viewed simultaneously using a private weblink.
THE MARRIED FATHER OF THREE STARTED OFF FILMING GAA MATCHES AS A COTTAGE INDUSTRY AND WAS CONTACTED LAST NOVEMBER BY AN IRISH WOMAN LIVING IN AMERICA WHO ASKED IF HE COULD FILM HER FATHER'S FUNERAL WHICH SHE WAS UNABLE TO ATTEND.
The idea took off from there, and Mr Foudy believes there is a vibrant market for virtual funerals.
He believes emigrants who would otherwise not be able to attend the funeral of a loved one back home would be interested in the service.
"Wherever in the world our client may be, whether it is in Australia or the United States, this service provides them with a private weblink to a live stream of a funeral service or the option of a video recording of the entire service, including the burial, within two hours of its conclusion," he said.
While he concedes that he has had a "few strange looks" from mourners since he began the service, once they understand what he is doing they have no objections, he said.
The service costs about €350 for a church service and burial. That, says Mr Foudy, is a fraction of the cost for someone who would be looking at thousands of euro for a last-minute flight home from abroad to attend a loved one's funeral.