Thousands gather for funerals of Donegal crash victims

Thousands have gathered in Bruckless for the funerals of the three women who lost their lives in the tragic crash in Louth on Friday morning. Mourners gathered in the Church of Saint Joseph and Saint Conal for the funeral of 69 year old Margaret McGonagle and her daughter Mairead Mundy (37) this morning.

The service was led by Fr James Sweeney PP and the funeral of Rachel Battles, a friend of Mairead’s who also lost her life in the crash, is due to take place this afternoon.

Speaking at the funeral mass Fr Sweeney spoke of the sense of community spirit that has brought the devastated parish together.


He said: “Death is always difficult to deal with but the death of two members of one family and a family friend leaves with us a very acute pain. The sense of loss can almost be overwhelming and indeed very difficult for the human mind to comprehend.”

Fr Sweeney said the community “rallied together” over the last few days to support all the families involved. 

“This tragedy has devastated the community and a sense of shock permeates the parish. This tragedy has reminded us of the goodness and kindness and generosity of this rural community here in south Donegal.”

The mother and daughter were described as well known and much loved members of the small community.

Margaret was born in Sligo in 1948 and married and moved to Bruckless in 1970. She had three children Roger, Geoffrey and Mairead and when they were reared Margaret returned to education and became an accredited counsellor.

She was to the fore in the setting up of the Donegal Rape Crisis in her early work and proceeded to work in different areas helping others with their trauma and difficulties. A tribute from one of Margaret’s clients was read out which described her as “an incredible woman” who changed their life completely.

Her daughter Mairead lived in Bruckless all her life and was described as “a real home-bird”. At the age of 18 she moved to nearby Glenties, but after three days returned home because she was homesick.

Mairead was a champion Irish dancer and danced in both the Ulster and All-Ireland competitions. In 2002 Mairead married Declan and they had a baby boy, Caoimhin, sadly Declan passed away in 2009.

Several years later she was blessed to meet Pauric and they began a happy life together with Caoimhin.  Mairead and Pauric had just celebrated their first wedding anniversary and Fr Sweeney said it was “tragically cut short” by last week’s accident.  

The funeral of Rachel, a native of Ardara, will be held in the same church this afternoon at 2.30pm.

A third woman, aged in her 30s, was also killed in the early morning crash.

Three people lost their lives in the horrific collision.


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