The funerals have taken place in Sligo this afternoon of Sonny and Sean Harte, the father and son who lost their lives in a fire in a town centre apartment at the weekend.
An overflow congregation attended their funeral Mass in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception where the chief concelebrant of the Mass, Fr Stephen Walsh, of St Anne’s Parish in Sligo, described it as ‘a doubly-sad day.’
The remains of Sonny and Sean were taken from the family home in nearby St Brigid’s Place to make the short distance to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
To the strains of the entrance hymn ‘Amazing Grace,’ the two coffins were taken to the front of the cathedral altar where they rested side by side, a picture of Sonny on one, of Sean on the other.
Fr. Walsh was joined in the concelebration of Mass by Fr Pat Lombard, parish priest of St Anne’s; Canon Dominick Gillooly, retired parish priest of St Anne’s; Canon Tom Hever, administrator of the Cathedral Parish in Sligo; Fr John Carroll, chaplain at Sligo Univeristy Hospital and Fr Tom Towey, of Corhownagh, Ballisodare.
Fr Walsh thanked God for Sonny’s and Sean’s lives which, he said, ended so tragically.
He said there were no words of comfort that could be offered today but by the prayers and symnpathy of all, he wanted those who were mourning to know ‘we stand with you.’
He said the Harte family had more than their share of tragedy, recalling four previous family deaths.
But Fr Walsh added that our faith is our only consolation in the dark hours of death.
Gifts brought to the altar reflected the lives of the two men: a jersey representing their love of Glasgow Celtic Football Club, an Ireland scarf signifying their support for ‘the Boys in Green’, an EJ Menswear bag, a symbol of their love of fashion and dressing up; a family photo, and a candle representing Sonny’s and Sean’s love for each other.
Fr Walsh recalled two relatively young men in the prime of their lives who enjoyed good health but who were snatched away in a single night.
Recalling the apartment fire that claimed their lives, he said we don’t really know what happened, and he recalled Sonny’s heroism in the midst of the tragedy:
Fr Walsh said Sonny and Sean were not only father and son, they were best friends and life was never dull wherever they were.
After the Mass, the funeral cortege made its way to Sligo Cemetery, where Sonny and Sean were laid to rest, side by side.