A small but discreet security operation is expected to be insitu round parts of south Donegal today, for the funeral of John Ward Snr., father of the late John “Frog” Ward who was shot dead by farmer Pádraig Nally while trespassing on his Mayo land, seven years ago.
Hundreds of mourners, including a large number from the Irish Travelling community are expected to attend Mr Ward’s snr. funeral this morning. The 74-year-old, father of 14 children died on Sunday in Sligo General Hospital. Deceased’s remains reposed at John McGee & Sons Funeral Directors, Belleek Road, Ballyshannon with removal taking place last evening to St. Patrick’s Church, Ballyshannon at 6.15pm.
Inspector Denis Joyce of Ballyshannon Garda station told the Democrat: “There will be no extra security arrangements in place but gardai will be closely monitoring the route,” he said.
Gardai have also advised that from a traffic viewpoint that people travelling near Ballyshannon, should use the bypass in order to avoid any potential traffic congestion during the time of the funeral.
In line with normal Travellers traditions and practices following the death of the head of a family, it is understood that Mr Ward’s remains will be drawn a certain distance by traditional horse drawn carriage. The remains will then continue on their final journey to Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim where Mr Ward will be laid to rest.
Funeral Mass will take place this morning (Tuesday) at 11am. Burial will follow afterwards to St. Clare’s Cemetery, Manorhamilton.
Mr Ward’s son’s death made national headlines on 14 October 2004. Pádraig Nally, a Mayo farmer shot dead John “Frog” Ward, who was said to have been trespassing on Mr Nally’s property.
In November of the following year Nally was sentenced to six years imprisonment for manslaughter, but his conviction was later quashed in October 2006. Later, in December 2006, he was found not guilty of manslaughter.
The circumstances behind the case raised fundamental legal questions as to what was reasonable force, when a person tresspassed on the property of another.