Hundreds of mourners attend funeral of ‘vivacious’ Morgan Barnard
One of the young victims of the St Patrick’s Day party crush was described as a “vivacious, charismatic and energetic” young man who always had a smile on his face.
Hundreds of mourners turned out to say goodbye to 17-year-old Morgan Barnard, who died in the tragic incident outside a hotel in Co Tyrone on Sunday.
Pupils from schools in Cookstown and Dungannon, including St Patrick’s Academy where Morgan was a student, took part in a guard of honour outside St Patrick’s Church in Dungannon.
Many people wore bright-coloured Gaelic sports tops while others wore Hawaiian shirts at the request of Morgan’s family, to reflect his bright personality.
Others wore jumpers emblazoned with Irish names as a symbol of his love for the language.
Friends of the teenager hugged each other and wept as the funeral cortege made its way in to the church.
One of Morgan’s friends, while reading a Prayer of the Faithful, said: “Morgan was my best friend and no matter where he is he will always be my best friend.
“And I am going to love him forever.”
Morgan, Lauren Bullock, 17 and Connor Currie, 16, were victims of the crush outside the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone.
Also attending Morgan’s funeral was Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald and vice-president Michelle O’Neill.
The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, told mourners that “words fail us at times like this”.
He said: “All that really matters, and makes a difference, is love and friendship and compassion.
“And only faith can dare to speak into the darkness of these days to offer a glimmer of light and hope in this valley of tears.
“Here in Co Tyrone this week, as families, parishes, schools and communities, we’ve been circling each other around with love and faith and kindness and compassion.
“The shocking events of Sunday last have reminded us that life is very fragile; we need to cherish every moment and always look out for each other, and keep each other safe.
“Thank you all for being here today to offer your prayerful presence and support.
“In the days ahead, we will cherish the memories of these precious and gifted young people whose lives have been so suddenly wrenched from among us.
“We will continue to hold their families, and each other, close in love and faith.”
In his homily, Father Aidan McCann said it was an understatement to say Morgan was well-liked.
“He was a vivacious, charismatic and energetic young man who nobody had a bad word to say about,” he said.
“Morgan was a person of character who had a great sense of humour with an abundance of wit – always a smile on his face.
“You could never pass him on the corridor in school, and no doubt anywhere else, without getting a warm look or a quick joke as he passed.
“Morgan had a strong personality and didn’t care too much about the opinion of others, revealed in his various hairstyles or indeed lack of hair, hair colours and his flamboyant choice of shirts.
“He was constantly breaking his glasses and his mother was constantly having to buy him new school shoes as he wore them out playing football.
“He was also a humble young man who would always listen and be there for somebody if they needed him.”