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Christine's 'tiny voice' had force to win freedom

CHRISTINE Buckley was a "tiny voice amid a clamour of denial and recrimination" – but her voice won freedom and vindication, mourners at her funeral have heard.

President Michael D Higgins led mourners in a final farewell to the brave Dublin woman who died on Monday following a long illness.

Chief mourners at her funeral at the church of St Therese in Mount Merrion today were her husband Donal, and their three adult children, daughter Cliona and sons Darragh and Conor.

Christine's two sons received standing ovations when they paid moving tributes to a mother who had "smothered them with hugs and kisses" growing up and who had a great sense of humour.

Their mum had loved a party – and was probably up there now gate-crashing a party with Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix, Darragh said.

He added that he wanted to scream, punch the wall and smack the doctors when his mother died – except that his mum "would've kicked my ass."

The remains were received by Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin.

Hundreds of mourners attended the mass, with well- known singer Rebecca Storm giving an emotional rendition of Tell Me It's Not True.

The Taoiseach was represented by his ADC Commandant Ciaran Carey and Health Minister James Reilly was also in attendance.

Christine (67) was one of the first people to speak out publicly about the abuse of children in institutions in Ireland.


In a heartfelt tribute, chief celebrant Fr Tony Coote said Christine's voice opened doors for many others who had been abused, those who had been voiceless.

Christine had represented the power of one against so many, he said.

"Perhaps belief is Christine's greatest legacy," he said, adding that she had "never tarred anyone with the same brush."

A family has lost a wife, a mother, a sister, Fr Coote pointed out, adding that he was certain Christine was proud of her family and the life she enabled for them growing up with a childhood very different to her own.

And while she did not experience much love in her own early years, Fr Coote said she had surely left this life knowing she was beloved on this earth.

Her sister Cynthia from Nigeria paid tribute to her as a humble, loving, faithful and compassionate person who the family had been privileged to have as a sister. She said they will always cherish the insights they had gained from her.

Gifts brought to the altar included a tiny child's shoe and survivor stories from the Aislinn Centre – the centre that she established to help victims of institutional abuse.

There were many survivors of institutional and clerical abuse amongst the congregation.


A long-time campaigner for survivors of institutional abuse, she first spoke of her own abuse as a child in Dublin's Goldenbridge orphanage to Gay Byrne on RTÉ Radio One in 1992.

In 1999, with her close friend Carmel McDonnell Byrne, she set up the Aislinn Centre in Dublin's city centre which has been helping survivors of institutional abuse and their families through therapy and education ever since.