Nearly 300 mourners attended St Mary’s Cemetery in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim on Thursday, to lay to rest a 22-year-old man who recently died in Britain.
Members of the Travelling community in Carrick-on-Shannon and Longford town were joined by relatives living in Britain for the funeral of Davey Reilly which drew a large Garda presence to the town for the past two days.
Throughout Wednesday, mourners arrived at the Shannonside View estate in the Attirory area of the town to pay respects. Dozens of UK-registered vehicles were observed throughout the town on both days.
Gardaí set up checkpoints on the N4 approach into the town and also at various points in the Attirory townland.
Residents of the estate erected a large marquee on site which was full on Wednesday night. Portaloos were also erected and a UK-registered jeep was parked across the entrance to the estate to block any vehicular access.
Following the funeral, a large number of mourners who had initially been turned away gathered on foot in a nearby car park and ran through a Garda checkpoint and made their way to the marquee nearby.
The funeral Mass was celebrated on Thursday by Fr Frank Garvey PP with reduced numbers attending in St Mary’s Church. After the Mass, Mr Reilly’s remains were brought to St Mary’s Cemetery in a horse-drawn glass hearse led by two white horses.
Three hundred metres from the cemetery, the hearse was met by about 100 mourners and the coffin was removed and carried the remainder of the way.
Mourners held aloft floral tributes and music was played aloud as the cortege made its way to the cemetery with about 300 people present, none of whom were seen to be wearing protective face masks.
Following the burial, Gardaí again set up checkpoints in Attirory and tried to prevent vehicles or pedestrians from accessing the Shannonside View estate where the marquee was still erected.
Checkpoints continued in the town throughout the evening.
From Wednesday evening, gardaí had informed people in the area that the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A-Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No.10) Regulations 2020 were currently in force.
This places restrictions on individuals organising events outdoors and on travel outside the home except with a reasonable excuse, while funerals are to be attended by no more than 10 people.
In a statement, the Garda called on people to follow the guidelines and show “personal and social responsibility”, saying Covid-19 pandemic “remains a public health crisis”.