Connors deaths: Family remains brought to Wexford for burial
Bishop reads out Pope’s message to all the families affected by Carrickmines fire
A horse-drawn hearse draws the remains of a member of the Connors family to Crosstown Cemetery, Wexford town, October 23rd, 2015. Photograph: Patrick Browne
The Dublin funeral of Thomas, Sylvia, Christopher, Jim and baby Mary Connors, who died in the Carrickmines temporary halting site fire almost two weeks ago, at The Church of the Ascension of the Lord, Balally, Sandyford. The family’s remains were brought to Wexford for burial on Friday. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Dublin
Mourners gather at the Church of the Annunciation on Wexford town’s Bride Street ahead of the burial of members of the Connors family, October 23rd, 2015. Photograph: Patrick Browne
Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the funeral of Sylvia and Thomas Connors and their children Jim, Christy and Mary in Wexford town. Photograph: Patrick Browne
Hearses carry remains of the Connors family to Crosstown Cemetery, Wexford town, October 23rd, 2015. Photograph: Patrick Browne
A lone piper announced the emergence of five coffins from the Church of the Annunciation on Wexford’s Bride Street on Friday afternoon as a soft rain threatened.
The two larger oak caskets containing the remains of Thomas and Sylvia Connors, the three smaller white ones containing their children Jimmy, Christy, and baby Mary. All were arranged in a line behind five hearses.
Waiting outside already were groups of young Traveller men and other sympathisers. A tricolour at the Garda station nearby flew at half mast as a small number of gardaí managed traffic in the streets nearby.
The funeral Mass for all the Connors had taken place on Thursday in Dublin’s Balally, where the family had worshipped. Now they had been brought home to Wexford for burial.
Thomas and Sylvia Connors’s remains were placed in two horse-drawn hearses, his black, hers white, each drawn by plumed black and white horses. The children’s caskets were placed in regular hearses and adorned with large wreaths of flowers.
As each casket was brought to its hearse it was accompanied and blessed by Bishop of Ferns Denis Brennan. Then, as happens at country funerals, everyone stood around and chatted as people sympathised with relatives.
Among those to do so were Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin, Minister for Children James Reilly, Government chief whip Paul Kehoe, Mayor of Wexford Ger Carthy and other public representatives.
They also accompanied the hearses on foot when they set off for the graveyard.
At the brief service earlier, Bishop Brennan read out Pope Francis’s message to the Connors and all those families affected by the fire at Carrickmines.
He added that “having worked with the Travelling people over the years I have come to know, and admire, your lively sense of the sacred, and your strong family bonds. I pray that these two traits, which are a hallmark of your community, will help you through this time of tears.
“In that spirit, we commend Thomas and Sylvia Connors and their children Jimmy, Christy, and Mary to the love and care of God our Father. In our prayers we also remember Willie Lynch, Tara Gilbert, their daughters Kelsey and Jodie, and Jimmy Lynch.”
Wexford administrator Fr Aodhan Marken said: “From a distance, it could seem that this family have been abandoned by God, and yet very strongly throughout this country and beyond we see the hand of God so powerfully present in the outpouring of support and sympathy for the family; we see it in the kindness of strangers and in the goodness of the passersby who simply take time to stop and offer support and assistance, gently and kindly.
“This afternoon all hearts are broken - there are no human words that will in any way offer you who love Thomas, Sylvia, Jim, Christy and Baby Mary any consolation, any comfort. All we can do as a nation and as a people is to walk beside you and with you.”
And they repeated Psalm 130, “Out of the depths I have cried to you O Lord!”