For nine weeks the search went on at the Round-O in Enniskillen for the body of Kieran McAree from Emyvale, Co. Monaghan. On the 64th day, after a daily vigil by his parents and a well co-ordinated search involving the PSNI and dozens of volunteers from Fermanagh, Monaghan and much further afield, the body was discovered close to the jetty. On Saturday, his family were finally able to lay him to rest following a Requiem Mass at St Patrick’s Church, Corracrin.
During the search, Peadar McMahon from Emyvale spent many hours assisting the family and taking part in the search. He was there last Wednesday when a body was spotted in the water. His detailed diary of the search along with photographs can be found on his emyvale.net website.
Rodney Edwards of the Impartial Reporter along with photographer John McVitty brought almost daily coverage of the search in a very sensitive way, managing to convey the feelings of Kieran’s parents at various stages, without being intrusive. This is his report on the funeral:
He was missing for over nine weeks but today Kieran McAree from Emyvale in County Monaghan was at last laid to rest.
There was a large attendance at his funeral mass at St. Patrick’s Church in Corracrin, including representatives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland and volunteer search groups.
The poignant service just days after Kieran’s 24th birthday was conducted by Father Hubert Martin with assistance from Enniskillen church leaders, including Father Brian D’Arcy and the Dean of Clogher, the Very Rev. Kenneth Hall.
A family photograph, a football jersey and an ’Aware Defeat Depression’ t-shirt were displayed at the front of the church as Fr. Martin told mourners that Kieran was a young man “who packed a lot into his short life”.
“He is first of all a son, a brother, a grandson to Annie, a cousin, a best mate, a mystery,” he said.
After going missing on December 17, Kieran’s body was discovered near the Round ‘O’ last week in a search that captured the hearts of people in Enniskillen and Emyvale.
Fr. Martin described the “great joy” that was felt along the shoreline on Wednesday afternoon.
“People hugged; there were tears, tears of relief and sadness, mixed emotions… but lovely, warm moments that will be remembered forever,” he said, adding: “Rarely ever does a coffin at a funeral look so special as Kieran’s coffin today.”
“We have been through such a gruelling experience,” said Fr. Martin, reiterating the appreciation of Kieran’s parents Martin and Geraldine for the help and support from the community in Enniskillen.
“Many new friendships between the people of Enniskillen and North Monaghan have been firmly forged. Neighbourliness has been demonstrated and experienced, the gospel has been preached by witness rather than by word.
“Despite the ordeal and trauma of the last nine weeks, Kieran McAree’s family is full of praise for the support they have received from so many people. Time and time again they have complimented the Police Service of Northern Ireland for their professionalism and courtesy, particularly on Wednesday when the body was recovered and sensitivity was required.”
There was a standing ovation and loud applause for the many PSNI officers in attendance, including Inspector Roy Robinson, Inspector Rory Hoy and Constable Gavin Huey.
“Community spirit at its best manifesting all that is good in human relationships,” said Fr. Martin, “People were prepared to walk with each other and with the McAree family through their ordeal. There is something very special about that idea of people walking with each other.”
As Kieran’s coffin was carried to the nearby cemetery, members of the PSNI and search teams and individuals from Fermanagh joined with locals from Emyvale to form a guard of honour in one last show of support.