Young brothers’ deaths spread ‘darkness over the whole land’

A HORRIFIC car crash in which four young people died in Kerry, spread “darkness over the whole land”, a priest at a funeral Mass for two of the victims said on Saturday.

Mourners at the Mass for brothers David, 17, and Kevin Breen, 15, from Ballyspillane Estate, Killarney, also heard how news of the tragedy struck fear into the hearts of all parents.

There were harrowing scenes as the boys were laid to rest side by side.

Messages of sympathy were sent to the Breen family by President Mary McAleese and by similarly bereaved families from the Inishowen Peninsula, in Donegal, and Adamstown Community School, Wexford.

Fr Gerard O’Leary, chief concelebrant of the Mass in St Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney, asked for prayers for the other victims, Áine Riordan, 16, from Castleisland, and Brian Coffey, 19, Crohane, Killarney, and their grieving families.

Prayers were also said for the sole survivor of the crash, Darragh Jones, 16, of Killeagh, Farranfore, Co Kerry, who is recovering from his injuries.

The five friends had been attending a house party, near Killarney, last Tuesday night and, it is believed, were on their way home when their car went out of control hitting a tree side-on, shortly after 7am on Wednesday.

In his homily, Fr O’Leary said when the news spread “there was a darkness over the whole land, young lives were lost and we were left fumbling in that darkness for answers, none of which were found”.

“For Kevin and David’s family and friends their sons or brothers or friends would not be coming home. In the place of the laughter, craic and fun there was a still silence as if the world had stood still.”

He spoke of the fear felt in the hearts of all parents on learning about the accident. “We quickly checked where members of our family were and if they were safe. When the names of those involved were released our attention focused on their families and the pain, shock and horror they must be experiencing.

“Deep inside we knew it could be my story, my son or daughter, brother or sister, relative or friend and we ask ourselves the question secretly ‘how would I cope?’.”

In the days following the boys’ passing, he said people recalled how they had stood up for their friends and remembered the happy times spent in the local youth club and no names club.

“But Kevin and David will be remembered best for their sense of joy and fun. Their family came first and they enjoyed a very close relationship with all the family, but gave special attention to Billy, their youngest brother, bringing him on the bar of the bike to the local shop and giving him sweets.”

God did not abandon Kevin and David last Wednesday as he was with them at the hour of their deaths, the priest told the hushed congregation.

“None of us here this morning are perfect. We all make mistakes and say and do things that we regret but God does not abandon us.”

Scores of teenagers were among the mourners walking behind the hearses in a funeral procession through Killarney on Saturday – the sad, final journey for the brothers who were laid to rest in Holy Cross Cemetery, Kilcummin.

They are survived by their parents Sheila and Denis as well as brothers Michael, 21, Denis, 19, Billy, 3 and sister Sheila Mary, 11.

More in this section