Andrew McGinley’s funeral eulogy for his children Conor, Darragh and Carla

Full text: ‘You spoke to me about love and compassion and understanding’

This is the full text of the eulogy delievered by Andrew McGinley at the funerals of his children, Conor (9), Darragh (7) and Carla (3) McGinley at the Church of the Holy Family in Rathcoole today.

I will struggle to get through this so please bear with me. Apologies in advance for the tears and pauses that I will have to take to catch my breath.

Although we are in a House of God, no God should allow this to happen. Fr Kevin, when I spoke to you on Saturday I was filled with rage and anger but you spoke to me not about God’s plan or about angels, you spoke about love and compassion and understanding. You may never know how much that meant and how it has carried me through this far.

So for me we are not just in a House of God, we are in a House of Love and Friendship. And it will only be with your love, support, understanding and friendship that we, as a family McGinley and Morley, will get through this.


The past days have been hugely emotional but within that I have been able to reflect on the lives of our beloved Conor, Darragh and Carla. It got me thinking of the small pieces of their lives that came together to make them the wonderful children that they are.

'Carla my love, I had really hoped that we would be finally building that snowman this year. I'm so sorry'

Many of you will never know, until now, how much your everyday actions helped make my children’s lives more wonderful and helped us to allow Conor, Darragh and Carla to grow as the creative, funny and unique kids that they are and that it’s not just here in Newcastle, Saggart and Rathcoole, in Dublin or Donegal but sometimes even globally. I need you all to know that, and I need you all to understand so please bear with me and I hope you all hear this message.

To start;
Thank you Lego. If you saw Conor and Darragh's bedroom you would know how much they adored Lego. What I need you all in Lego to understand is that you gave me precious time with my children to create not just the items in the instructions but also many weird and wonderful spaceships, many totally impractical multi-purpose vehicles and lots and lots of baddies' lairs. You gave them creativity but most of all you gave us joy together as a family. Please understand that and please continue to bring as much joy as you can to the children of the world.

Thank you Stan Lee, RIP. Thank you for your stories and characters. You fuelled our children’s imaginations.

This brings me on to everyone in Marvel. Thank you for Ironman, Thor, Captain Marvel, Hulk and all the rest. Thank you Robert Downey Jnr and thank you Chris Hemsworth for bringing Ironman and Thor to life. My kids absolutely worshipped you both. To Mark Ruffalo, Carla loved big friendly Hulk in Avengers Endgame and thanks for your bits of that film that I was able to show her. So please understand the way your acting profession breeds children’s creativity and imagination and how you also bring them awe and wonder. Because of your films that they loved, and could almost recite line by line, Conor had taken up drama class and he had recently been joined by Darragh there.

Thank you to everyone involved in Frozen, special thanks to princesses Ana and Elsa and also to a snowman called Olaf from our princess Carla. Carla my love, I had really hoped that we would be finally building that snowman this year. I’m so sorry.

'Thank you to the Foo Fighters. We love your music. For Conor it's The Pretender, for Darragh it's My Hero and for Carla it's Everlong'

Thank you to whoever invented trampolines. You will never know the fun and enjoyment ours has brought Conor, Darragh and Carla.

Thank you to all involved in Paw Patrol and Teen Titans. You brought my children joy.

Thank you to Julia Donaldson for your books about a Gruffalo and about a Snail on a Whale and all the others. We have many, many well-thumbed copies of your books but what you need to understand is the time that your work gave us to snuggle our kids and to hold them close as we followed that snail on its wonderful trail on the tail of whale.

Thank you to David Walliams and Dav Pilkey. Please understand the sheer joy that the likes of Gangsta Granny, Billionaire Boy, Dogman and Captain Underpants gave Conor and Darragh. They could hardly catch their breath as they would tell us all about the chapter they had just read. I really need you both to understand the joy that their joy in your work gave us and how it moulded their sense of humour.

Thank you to the Foo Fighters. We love your music. For Conor it’s The Pretender, for Darragh it’s My Hero and for Carla it’s Everlong. We all love Everlong and Dave Grohl you will never know how much Everlong will get me through the dark days ahead. Honourable mentions also go to Led Zepplin Immigrants Song for Conor, Thunderstruck by AC/DC for Darragh and Pat Shortt for Jumbo Breakfast Roll for Carla. Carla sure had an eclectic taste in music.

Thank you to all in Happy Feet Crèche. Carla loved you all and I’ve no doubt you all loved her. She brought that love home and I adored her. Please understand that the precious moments you have with children shape them for us parents and thank you for your time with Carla.

Thank you to Scoil Chrónáin. You have helped us develop two magnificent young men in Conor and Darragh.

Thank you to all the fantastic friends the lads knew from there and I’m truly sorry for the difficult chats parents must have had with them. Thank you for all the playdates.

Thank you Pauline Hanlon, you are and always have been a huge part of our family.

When Ireland would lose a match, I used to say I was heartbroken. I now know what that really means. We, as a family, are heartbroken

Thank you to the person who I only met briefly and whose name I don’t know. You worked with Lego club in Citywest in the summer and it was with you and because of you that Darragh felt he could build a Lego universe and by god he tried. You may never understand your impact on all those kids but I thank you. I hope you hear this message. You need to understand how wonderful you are and how wonderful you made Darragh feel.

Thank you Rathcoole Boys. I hope some big club comes in with huge sponsorship for the club as it deserves all the support it can get as it supports our children and our community. Each and everyone of you there are truly magnificent. Dave, Owen and Adrian, you made Conor feel like a superstar and we thank you for that. Darragh had progressed well in the academy too and was nearly ready for his big comeback. I hope that all of you there understand how much you are a huge part of every kid’s life if they have ever pulled on the green and white. Please continue that wonderful work.

I cannot mention everyone but I do hope that these examples, allows you to see it from a parent’s perspective. I hope you can understand how each of you, have helped us with Conor, Darragh and Carla so please continue your work on behalf of all parents.

I do need to thank a number of people personally:

I want to thank the emergency services who attended last Friday. In particular, there was a fire crew who I don’t know so I hope they get to hear this. They entered the house with me and they knew when to step in and they knew when to pull back. They understood my grief and I thank them for managing that. Also one of the team, I think he may have been the lead, provided me with much clarity in the middle of the insanity. You know who you are and I want to thank you.

I want to thank James and Edel at Hotel 44. In the past few days I’ve thanked you almost as many times as Edel has made pots of tea but I can never ever thank you enough.

Thank you to my neighbours Gavin and Audrey. You have been fantastic. Gavin you were beside me when I opened the door and entered the house and I’m so sorry for that but I was so thankful you were there beside me.

Thank you to everyone in the estate for your support and to everyone in the community. It is a truly magnificent community. Thank you to the Newcastle Community Group. Thank you to everyone who has signed a book of condolence, I will read every one of your messages.

Thank you to Chief Supt Finbar Murphy. Thank you and your team for your handling of this tragedy.

I want to thank our family liaison, Niamh. You have been a rock for me.

Thank you to all the Garda teams. Thank you for your dignity and understanding. I would like to mention Margaret Bolster as when you said that you would treat Conor, Darragh and Carla as if they were your own children, I found great peace in that so thank you.

To Amy in the mortuary. Thank you, you know why but you may never understand how much that meant to me so thank you.

Thank you to our funeral director Michael Cunningham and all your team. Your compassion and kindness has given us huge comfort. Thanks again to Fr Kevin and also to Fr John and everyone else involved in this service.

Thank you to my work family, Sodexo. I really do want to respond to all my colleagues who have messaged me so forgive me for not having done so to date. The support you have all shown me over the past few days has been phenomenal. Thank you to Julie and thank you Aidan for your support.

Thank you to my family, Mc Ginley and Morley. My thoughts are with Conor, Darragh and Carla’s godmothers and godfathers and I thank you all for your love and your support for your godchildren. Thank you to all our friends and all who have helped in our home over the past few days. Thank you Michelle and Conrad, Darren and Kieran for everything. Thank you Mum and Dad for completely ignoring me when I would arrive with the kids and showering all your love and all your affection on Conor, Darragh and Carla. Thank you all.

I have promises that I have to keep and this will drive me on. Conor announced at Christmas that he wanted to set up a You Tube channel. Containing what he never quite committed to but I promised to help him and I will do that for him. I promised Darragh that I would coach at Rathcoole Boys so apologies to the club, you may never get me out of there from now on. And I promised Carla a snowman, the place will be filled with snowmen every time it snows.

I will finish with this. We often misuse words. When Ireland would lose a match, I used to say I was heartbroken. I now know what that really means. We, as a family, are heartbroken. It will only be with your help, support and friendship that we will be able to patch our hearts together in some way but we will still be forever heartbroken.

Conor, Darragh and Carla. I love you, I love you, I love you.