A community frozen in grief

A community frozen in grief
The border community of Pettigo remained frozen in grief as it came to terms with the death of one of their favourite sons.

The border community of Pettigo remained frozen in grief as it came to terms with the death of one of their favourite sons.

In the packed grounds of St. Mary’s Church where hundreds of hushed mourners gathered, one emotional man remarked: “Since last Sunday everything has just stood still - it’s as if we were all frozen in time. Everybody is just numb with grief.”

Sean Martin and his friend, John Irwin, both lost their lives in a fatal road accident on Sunday last outside Pettigo on the Kesh road in a weekend that saw two other tragedies in South Donegal.

Yesterday morning hundreds of mourners of all age groups converged on the small church to pay tribute to this young man who was simply described as “lovable”.

Fr. Owen McEnaney PP said: “It is with troubled hearts and minds that we are gathered here this morning to bid farewell to Sean - any words we can say are inadequate.

“In the midst of this shocking tragedy our sorrow will turn to joy with Sean’s resurrection. God has designed that there will be a place for him beside him - Sean is alive with God now and forever.”

He continued: “Over the last number of days I have spent a lot of time with many of Sean’s friends and have also been reading many of the Facebook tributes to both Sean and John.

“Everybody is saying the same thing - he was everybody’s friend, had a smile for everybody and couldn’t pass you without a wave.

“He was a lovely young person and you the young people here today are equally unique. Never be afraid to express your feelings - Sean wasn’t; he could just throw his arms around somebody in greeting as if it was the most normal thing in the world”.

Continuing he said: “I have one message here in front of me saying, ‘My mother had so much time for Sean I often wondered did she love him more than she loved me - he was a truly great friend. That smile that never left his face brightened up everybody around him’.

“He loved his dancing, his clothes and above all his country music - a singer called Zack Brown was his favourite.”

Fr. McEnaney remembered John Irwin, who also died in the accident, and welcomed his parents and members of his family. “We will all be praying for them over the next few months as they come to terms with this awful tragedy.”

Hundreds of mourners, many of them young friends of Sean Martin and John Irwin, gathered in tearful silence as the remains of Sean made the final journey to St. Mary’s Church in Pettigo.

The grief was firmly etched on so many faces with grown men quietly shedding tears. One local man said: “Sean will always be in our minds. He will be ‘forever young’ to everybody who had the privilege of knowing him.” Sean is survived by his parents John and Grace, his brother Brian, his 94 year old grandfather Tommy and a wide extended family.