Mourners clamped as they pay respects to priest killed in freak accident slam 'despicable behaviour'

Mourners clamped as they pay respects to priest killed in freak accident slam 'despicable behaviour'
Fr John Cummins

Mourners who attended a remembrance Mass and reception for a priest who died in a freak accident have been left outraged when they found their parked cars clamped in an adjoining site.

Fr John Cummins, 51, parish priest in Abbeyleix, Co Laois was killed in an accident involving his car at the parochial house last Wednesday.

Hundreds of former parishioners of Fr Cummins, who was the administrator of Carlow Cathedral for several years, were paying their respects at Carlow Cathedral on Thursday night when the incident happened at the private site.

Scores of people took to social media to vent their anger at what clampers had done.

One lady who was at the Mass and reception, who did not wish to be named explained, “(I had attended) a beautiful, heartbreaking Remembrance Mass for Fr John Cummins in Carlow Cathedral.

“The church was packed which was a sign of how highly he was thought of.

“The congregation were invited back to the parish centre for a cup of tea. People had parked in an old car park on Tullow St.

"When we arrived back clampers had already clamped about eight cars. (I) would have been next only I got back just in time.

It was a disgusting (sight), the parish are mourning the death of Fr Cummins and the clampers use this tragic event to make a profit. It is revolting and the lowest despicable behaviour.

Independent councillor Walter Lacey told local radio KCLRfm said: “We discussed this (issue) at a council meeting (on Thursday). The Council are contacting the owners of the site about the carry on.

“There’s no point in talking to clampers. They simply don’t care. It’s also a private site and the Council have no authority over it. The signage and lighting are inadequate at the site.

“It’s hard to find the words to explain what happened. Fr Cummins was a really nice guy and the contribution he made to Carlow was immense.

"It’s hard to believe he’s gone. It’s a pity to be speaking about the (clamping) in this context. It’s despicable.

"The Council is writing to the owners of the property. They are not offering a safe and secure site. If they want to charge for parking there should be a barrier in and out instead of clampers.”

A visiting priest Fr Liam Morgan, said he purchased a ticket for €2 and was due to expire at 9.02pm.

“Unfortunately I was one of those people (who was clamped) I forgot about the car as I was at the reception chatting about Fr Cummins.

“When I returned to the car at 9.30pm, I just didn’t expect to see clampers but they were there (at that time of night). I felt there was no option but to pay the €120 fine. The clamper had no choice but to do his job.

"I could have argued all I liked but have gotten nowhere as I had to call a Dublin number to try to release the car.”

Fr Cummins is mourned by his mother Renee, brothers Con and Gary, extended family and Bishop Denis Nulty and the priests of Kildare and Leighlin.

His funeral mass will take place on Monday at 11am in St Conleth’s Parish Church, Newbridge, Co Kildare with burial afterwards in the adjoining cemetery.

The owners of the car parking site have been contacted for comment.

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