'Tears and shock and disbelief': Friends travel from Australia and Canada for Donegal crash funeral

'Tears and shock and disbelief': Friends travel from Australia and Canada for Donegal crash funeral
The remains of John Harley are removed from St Finian's church, Falcarragh, by family members. Pic: North West newspix

Latest: The final funeral following Sunday's crash in Donegal has heard how cars can be a lethal weapon and that people must take care on the roads.

23-year-old Daniel Scott was laid to rest just hours after his three childhood friends who died alongside him.

He was described as a devoted football player, a loyal and genuine person with his whole life ahead of him.

Father Sean Gallagher who led the funerals of both Shaun Harkin and Daniel Scott spoke of how the sorrow of this tragedy was felt far beyond West Donegal and, in fact, a whole nation has been shaken.

He said we should learn a lesson from the pain felt by the families and friends of the four who lost their lives.

"Every time I sit into my car and you sit into your car, there should be the deep decision and resolution to drive with care, to drive with attention, To drive safely, so that no harm will fall on anybody.

"The car, as we can see can be a lethal weapon."

Earlier: 'Tears and shock and disbelief': Friends travel from Australia and Canada for Donegal crash funeral

Friends of John Harley, the third victim of the Donegal crash to be laid to rest, have returned from as far away as Australia and Canada for his funeral mass.

The 24-year-old has been described as a promising young man with a great future while a GAA jersey and player of the year trophy have been placed on the altar.

Father James Gillespie, parish priest at a packed St Finnian’s Church in Falcarragh, said funeral mass for Mr Harley today.

He recalled: “His mother (Ann Harley) said to me, throughout his whole life, he brought joy to the family.

He was a promising young man with a great future which was sadly cut short

“The legacy he has left, the achievements and memories we all have of him, will continue to enrich our lives and give us great joy in the years to come.”

Mr Harley was a gifted and dedicated sportsman, albeit less enthusiastic about his football training, Fr Gillespie said, noting: “He did things when they needed to be done.”

His friends described him as a brilliant mate and an “all-round nice guy”, as Fr Gillespie put it.

The clergyman paid tribute to all the bereaved families, suffering grief and pain mixed with disbelief, and said the local community had provided great support.

“It is great comfort to know that he meant so much to so many.

“People from all over the world have been here for the Harley family. He was a man who was admired and loved by all who met him.”

The funeral of Micheal Roarty at the Sacred Heart Church in Dunlewey, in County Donegal. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire
The funeral of Micheal Roarty at the Sacred Heart Church in Dunlewey, in County Donegal. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Earlier, Micheál Roarty and Shaun Harkin were buried, while the funeral of Daniel Scott will take place later.

The four friends lost their lives when the car they were travelling in left the road outside Gortahork on Sunday night.

Father James Gillespie spoke of going to John's family home just hours after the news broke.

"I arrived to a house in tears and shock and disbelief. Numb with what has just unfolded before them.

"The silence in that kitchen was deep. Very little was being said and what could be said?

"No one had words."

'We are all swamped with sorrow and grief': Funeral of Donegal second crash victim hears

Update 1pm: The funerals of two of four young men killed in a tragic accident in Donegal have heard how the friends were taken in the prime of life.

They lost their lives when the car they were travelling in left the road outside Gortahork on Sunday night.

The funeral of Micheal Roarty at the Sacred Heart Church in Dunlewey, in County Donegal. Pictures: Niall Carson/PA Wire
The funeral of Micheal Roarty at the Sacred Heart Church in Dunlewey, in County Donegal. Pictures: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Father Brian Ferry reflected on Micháel Roarty's life saying: "He had a good soul, who would help anyone in any way that he could".

Hundreds of mourners stood outside the already packed Church in Dunlewey in sub zero temperatures this morning to pay their respects to the 24-year-old.

A football was brought up during the offertory procession to represent his love and dedication to his local GAA club.

Earlier in Gortahork, 22-year-old Shaun Harkin was laid to rest.

Father Sean Gallagher paid tribute to the support of the local community: "We are all swamped by sorrow and grief, engulfed at the same time by tremendous love and support which has been so evident for the past week."

The funeral of 24-year-old John Harley is underway in his native Falcarragh, while 23-year-old Daniel Scott will be laid to rest after his funeral mass at 2.30pm.

Pictures: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Pictures: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Funeral of youngest Donegal crash victim hears men were 'snatched' in prime of life

Update 11am: The funeral of the youngest victim of the Donegal crash that claimed four lives has heard how the men were snatched from their communities in the prime of their life.

Hundreds of people have come to say their final goodbye to 22-year-old Shaun Harkin from Falcarragh.

A mobile phone and a pliers to represent Shaun's work as an apprentice electrician were brought to the alter during the offertory procession.

The coffin of Shaun Harkin is carried into Christ the King Church. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire
The coffin of Shaun Harkin is carried into Christ the King Church. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The funerals of his three friends - Micháel Roarty, John Harley and Daniel Scott - will also take place today.

Father Sean Gallagher paid tribute to the lives lost.

"From break of dawn until the sun sets low, we say farewell to our many young men of 20," said Fr Gallagher.

"Our fine four men, snatched from us in the prime of life, from the bloom of their youth."

The funeral cortege of Shaun Harkin makes its way to Christ the King Church in Gortahork, Donegal. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire
The funeral cortege of Shaun Harkin makes its way to Christ the King Church in Gortahork, Donegal. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Tragic Donegal friends to be laid to rest today

Update 9.30am: The funerals of four friends who were killed in a crash in Donegal will take place today.

The young men, who were all in their 20s, lost their lives in a single vehicle collision near Gortahork on Sunday night.

(Left to right) Michael Roarty, John Hanley, Daniel Scott and Shaun Harkin.
(Left to right) Michael Roarty, John Hanley, Daniel Scott and Shaun Harkin.

The four were childhood friends and well known in the Gaeltacht areas of Falcarragh, Gortahork and Gweedore.

Their lives were cut short when the car they were travelling in left the road and ended up on its roof in a field outside of Gortahork at around 9pm on Sunday.

The funeral of 22-year-old Shaun Harkin will be the first to take place in Gortahork at 10am.

At 11.30am just a short drive away in the village of Dunlewey, final goodbyes will be said to 24-year-old Micheál Roarty.

In the afternoon, John Harley – who is also 24 - will be laid to rest in his native Falcarragh, and 23-year-old Daniel Scott in Gortahork.

The funerals will be predominately in Irish with many of the families being fluent gaeilgeoirs.

Guards of honour made up of the various clubs, teams and schools the young men were involved with are expected to line the streets, as the community across West Donegal tries to come to terms with its loss.

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