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Couple laid to rest in Westmeath
03 Jul 2015 19:07
The funeral has taken place of Co Westmeath couple Larry and Martina Hayes who were killed in a terror attack on a beach in the Tunisian resort of Sousse last Friday.
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More than 1,800 people gathered at the Church of Saints Peter & Paul in Athlone.
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Canon Liam Devine sympathised with the couple's only child, 30-year-old Sineád, whose birthday is today.
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"Could anyone think of a sadder or more heart-rending way to celebrate your birthday than to attend the funeral of both of your parents?" he said to the packed church.
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In his homily, Fr Devine said there is nothing, no human experience of grief or loss, that could possibly prepare a family or a community for what happened in Tunisia.
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He said the violent deaths of Mr and Mrs Hayes had left "the entire community in Athlone shocked, stunned and devastated".
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He said: "It is unprecedented. Unreal. It is almost impossible to come to terms with."
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He said it is baffling to think that in the holy month of Ramadan - which he said is equivalent to Lent in the Catholic religious tradition - that a violent atrocity claiming 38 lives, would also touch the lives of people in Ireland.
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Canon Devine said: "For some time now the violence of a misguided group of ISIS terrorist fanatics have invaded our living rooms.
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"It was a long way away, we put it in the back of our minds, it didn't concern us.
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"But now, it's here. It has invaded our town in two coffins."
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He added: "The appalling massacre of Larry and Martina Hayes and 36 others at the hands of a crazed brain-washed fanatic on a beach in Sousse has stunned the entire nation into disbelief."
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