“Martin McGill was a gentle, caring, kind soul who will now be reunited with his late father, Joseph,” Fr John Joe Duffy told those who gathered at the Celtic fan’s Funeral Mass this afternoon.
The 49-year-old was among those who tragically lost their lives in Friday’s explosion in Creeslough. At his Funeral Mass, Martin was recalled as a beautiful soul who cared deeply for his mother Mary. Rain fell heavily onto cars and onto members of the congregation from 2 o’clock onwards, echoing the heartfelt sadness and loss experienced by this close-knit community.
As the Funeral Mass began, Fr John Joe Duffy asked that symbols representing Martin’s life be brought to the altar among which was a Celtic jersey.
Fr Duffy said: “This symbolises the great love Martin had for his beloved Celtic.”
A bottle of Lucozade was also brought to the altar. Fr Duffy said that Martin always had a bottle of Lucozade in his hand.
“He was always someone looking after the local community, doing little errands and he often went to the shop to get that little loaf of bread from Danny Martin and brought it to those he cared for,” Fr Duffy said.
Fr Duffy offered his heartfelt sympathies on behalf of all the clergy gathered to those affected by Martin’s sudden death.
The curate said that people had joined together from north and south. He said the community was heartened by the support of others from across the world following the tragedy.
Fr Duffy said that the awful tragedy that struck on Friday had broken hearts. He said Martin, who moved to Ireland in 2001, had lost his father in recent times: “Our hope today is that he is now united with his dad who is just gone a short time ahead of him whom he missed very much and whose death was overwhelming for Martin but that he had to care for you his mother – that was the strength that got him through. His strength was in the fact that he was a caring person – a person of kindness and compassion.”
Fr Duffy said that people had been uplifted by the kindness since tragedy struck and that Martin had epitomised kindness during his lifetime.
“I have said and I always thought it and I am not just saying it today but Martin had a most beautiful soul – a gentle soul – the kind person that he was – a person where you could see the goodness flowing out from him,” he said.
Martin was recalled as a person who exuded kindness and compassion.
The President Michael D Higgins was represented at the funeral by his Aide de Camp, Colonel Stephen Howard. Taoiseach Micheál Martin was represented by his Aide de Camp Commandant Claire Mortimer. Northern Ireland First Minister Michelle O’Neill, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, Joe McHugh TD and the Mayor of Donegal, Councillor Liam Blaney were among the wide range of political representatives in attendance.
Members of Donegal County Council, An Garda Síochána, emergency services personnel, doctors and staff of the medical centre, the Northern Ireland rescue and fire services were present.
‘Fields of Athenry’ rang through St Michael’s Church and members of the congregation sang the words in memory of one of the beautiful souls their community has lost.
Denis O’Donnell from the Association of Donegal Celtic Supporters’ Club, Mick McGrath the Donegal GAA county chairman, former Donegal manager Jim McGuinness and many Celtic supporters were in attendance at the Funeral Mass.
Fr Duffy said that it would mean a lot to Martin to know that the Celtic FC foundation donated £10,000 to the Creeslough Community Support Fund. The Bishop of Raphoe Alan McGuckian SJ was among the clergy that led the final prayers at the funeral.
The words of ‘You’ll never walk alone’ rang through St Michael’s Chapel in Creeslough as Martin McGill made his final journey through the wind and the rain.
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