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Veronica's mum laid to rest after humble funeral

THE mother of late journalist Veronica Guerin was laid to rest in a simple and humble ceremony in accordance with her wishes.

Bernie Guerin (84) left "strict instructions" to keep the funeral ceremony brief and free from fuss, according to parish priest Fr Michael O'Grady.

Family, friends, members of the media, former gardai and politicians gathered to celebrate the life of Mrs Guerin, at the Church of Our Lady of Mercy in Artane.

Fr O'Grady said that Mrs Guerin, who passed away peacefully at Tralee General Hospital on Wednesday morning, was down-to-earth, unassuming and modest in all aspects of her life.

"Sometimes we look for heroes in all the wrong places and heroes should be ordinary people who do extraordinary things – like Bernie," he said.

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Mrs Guerin's coffin was carried into the church by her sons, Martin and Jimmy, with the help of other male relatives including Veronica Guerin's husband Graham Turley.

Veronica's son Cathal Turley carried his grandmother's coffin out of the church alongside his cousins.

In the years that followed Veronica's death, Bernie Guerin drew strength from the many awards that Veronica was honoured with and the fact that crime laws were strengthened, Fr O'Grady said.

Fr O'Grady said that Mrs Guerin, who was an avid bridge player and reader, worried about her grandchildren who played contact sports.

"Bernie's faith was very important to her, it helped her as she was forced to carry heavy crosses in life, especially the death of Veronica," he said.

"No matter who she met in life, whether it was presidents or film stars or neighbours and friends everyone was treated the same.

"She worried about her grandchildren," the priest added. "Especially those who did contact sports and was known to sit in the car rather than watch from the stands."

Bernie's son Martin thanked the staff of Tralee General Hospital for the compassion and excellent care they showed his mother during her final days.

He also thanked the former assistant Garda Commissioner Tony Hickey and Veronica's former colleagues at the Sunday Independent, the late Editor Aengus Fanning, Willie Kealy and Liam Collins, who had got to know Bernie after her daughter's death.

"There are people here who got to know my mum since Veronica's death and were there for her long after it was necessary or profitable," Martin added.

Editor of the Sunday Independent Anne Harris, Irish Independent special correspondent Paul Williams and former Fianna Fail politician Sean Haughey also in attended.

Fr Michael O'Grady said that they were grieving the loss of a much loved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister and friend.

He prayed that Bernie would be reunited with her husband Chris and daughter Veronica and all of those who she mourned in this life.

Bernie Guerin's funeral Mass was followed by burial in St Fintan's cemetery, Sutton.

hnews@herald.ie


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