Five people asked to leave funeral of Donegal man for not wearing face masks

Joe McCarron died from Covid-19 after being encouraged by anti-vaxx group to leave hospital

Gardaí have appointed a senior investigating officer to oversee an investigation into recent incidents at Letterkenny University Hospital. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Gardaí have appointed a senior investigating officer to oversee an investigation into recent incidents at Letterkenny University Hospital. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

A number of people were asked to leave a Co Donegal church during the funeral of a man who died from Covid because they were not wearing face masks.

Joe McCarron, 67, died from the virus and was buried on Sunday following his funeral mass at St Crona’s Church in Dungloe.

However, at least five people were asked to leave the church because they were not wearing face masks in line with Government guidelines.

At least two of the five people were members of the so-called Common Law Movement.

All five sat together in a row on the same seat despite signs asking people to stay two metres apart.

According to an eyewitness, the mourners were asked to leave by a parish assistant.

The woman initially approached the men with a box of face masks but they declined to take the masks.

The eyewitness revealed: “They were all sitting together while everyone else was sitting apart adhering to the guidelines.

Media coverage

“I knew two of them to see because of recent media coverage and from social media. They were definitely members of that anti-vaccine protest group.

“They were offered masks as none of them were wearing any. However, they declined and left without any fuss.

“They were not outside the church when the funeral was over and I certainly didn’t see them at the graveside when Joe was buried.”

Mr McCarron, who is survived by his wife Una, made international headlines last week when he was encouraged to leave Letterkenny University Hospital by anti-vaccine protesters.

He left the hospital on September 14th after protesters claimed he was being forced to go into the intensive care unit.

He left but was rushed back into hospital two days later suffering from serious breathing difficulties.

He died last Friday afternoon.

Fragility

His funeral Mass heard of the fragility of life, and of the heartache and loss suffered by his family and friends.

Fr Eddie Gallagher told mourners: “This is a very sad day, and we think of the bereaved who are brokenhearted on this day.

“The best gift, the only gift, we can give to Joe McCarron today is our prayers.

“The person who will miss Joe most of all is his wife Una,” added Fr Gallagher. “We offer our prayers and sympathy to Una who today is widowed and brokenhearted.”

Mr McCarron, born in 1954, was a former radio DJ who was well known in Dungloe. More recently, he was a carer to his wife of 38 years, Una.

A special welcome was given to Joe’s friends at the Mass, especially those in the AA fellowship.

“He was a very long time in the AA fraternity, and some are here today to remember Joe and honour his memory,” Fr Gallagher said.

Gardaí have also appointed a senior investigating officer to oversee an investigation into recent incidents at Letterkenny University Hospital.