Tragic death of Paul Meehan in New York
by sue doherty
The news of the sudden death of Paul Meehan at his Manhattan apartment on Sunday night has been met with tremendous sadness throughout Donegal.
Paul, who worked in the construction industry and was seventh of nine children born to Peggy and Michael Meehan, had just celebrated his 43rd birthday on Saturday. He is survived by his mother, brothers Shaun, Michael Jr, Eugene, Kevin, and Christopher, and sisters Kathleen and Janine.
This is the third time that the well-known and respected Meehan family, who have strong ties with Donegal town, Mountcharles and Barnesmore, have been visited by tragedy. Paul's brother Damian, who worked for an insurance company in the Twin Towers, was killed in the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. A street in Manhattan has been named after him and the Donegal GAA Club in New York has also named a memorial trophy after him.
Paul's father Michael, who was from the Barnesmore area, passed away four years ago. He was one of the founders of Donegal GAA Club in New York and a past president of the Donegal Association. He was also very actively involved in the United Irish Counties.
Speaking from the family home in New York, Paul's younger sister Janine, told the Democrat: "We are still in shock. Paul was a wonderful person, so much fun to be with and so full of life. He had so many friends. He loved his girlfriend and his family, especially his 23 nieces and nephews, who adored him. He was always the one with the bit of gum or a little toy to give them and they are devastated, trying to take in the fact that he is gone. He added so much to our all our lives."
She added: "As a family, we really appreciate the support from overseas. We have a strong allegiance to Donegal that was instilled in us at a very young age by our father and we are so proud of our Irish heritage. Thank you for remembering Paul, we are grateful."
Bundoran Town Cllr. Michael McMahon, a close friend of the family, said: "I spent over a year in New York, living with the family, and I was devasted to learn of Paul's death. The family are wonderful and so well known to all the Donegal Irish in New York because they have always been involved in everything Irish and, in particular, everything Donegal there. All of Mike and Peggy's children were born in New York, but they treasure their Donegal heritage. I know that I speak for everyone here when I say that our thoughts and prayers go out to the Meehan family at this terrible time. My son Micheal, who is living in New York, will attend both the wake and the funeral."
Pettigo native Laurence McGrath, who is Chairman of Donegal GAA Club New York, said: "Everyone here is deeply saddened by the news of Paul's passing. On behalf of everyone at the club, I offer our deepest condolences."
Paul's funeral will take place on Friday morning at 10am in Good Shepherd Church, Inwood, New York. Donations, in lieu of flowers, if desired to: Damian P. Meehan Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 1333, Monroe, NY 10949.