‘Dark cloud’ over communities after crash deaths of three friends, funeral told

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The deaths of three young friends killed in a crash in Co Tyrone “shocked and stunned” the whole country, mourners have been told.

Peter Finnegan, from Clogher, Peter (Petey) McNamee, from Garvaghey, and Nathan Corrigan, from Sixmilecross, all in their 20s, died in an horrific crash in Garvaghey, near Ballygawley, in the early hours of Monday morning.

The funerals of Mr Finnegan and Mr McNamee took place on New Year’s Day.

Mourners at both funerals heard how the tragedy has cast a dark cloud over Tyrone and has left people shocked and bewildered.

Garvaghy car crash
Left to right, Nathan Corrigan, Peter Alexander Finnegan and Petey McNamee (Police Service of Northern Ireland/PA)

The funeral of Mr Corrigan is to take place tomorrow.

Clogher parish priest Noel McGahan said the sudden death of Mr Finnegan has created a “deep void” in the lives of his parents, Peter and Catherine Finnegan.

Fr McGahan added: “The experience of death is always disturbing. But the death of a young person, in the prime of life, is overwhelming in its effects.

“It raises unanswerable questions and challenges the very meaning of the purpose of life and above all, it tests all our faith.

“The death of Peter with two of his friends, Nathan Corrigan and Peter McNamee, shocked and stunned the whole country.

Garvaghy car crash
Mourners outside St Patrick’s Church, Clogher, Co Tyrone, for the funeral of Peter Finnegan (Oliver McVeigh/PA)

“The sudden departure of Peter has created a deep void in the lives of his parents. The greatest nightmare for any parent – to bury a child.

“It is very heartbreaking too for his sisters and brothers.

“To bury a child is to bury the future, to bury your parents is to bury the past.

“This sad experience is something that goes against the grain of nature and the rhythm of life itself.

“In trying to come to grips with this untimely death of Peter, it is as well to acknowledge that there is no easy answers, that there is no cheap consolation in the face of death.

“The virtuous man, though he died before his time, will find rest. Perhaps Peter has achieved as much at 21 years of age than if he had to live to be an old man.”

He said Mr Finnegan had a great work ethic and was an integral part of his work team at O’Hanlon engineering in Tyrone, and had a “very bright future”.

“His honest, never-give-up attitude was a very positive influence on his peers. He had this natural ability to form friendships and he will be greatly missed in his place of work where he was respected,” Fr McGahan added.

“He will always be remembered as the young man full of life and fun, and an enthusiastic young person.”

Mourners at Mr McNamee’s funeral, held in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Beragh, heard how he was someone who enjoyed life to the full.

Garvaghy car crash
The coffin of Peter (Petey) McNamee being carried in to the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Beragh (PA)

“But at the same time, there will always be the feeling that there was so much more Petey could have done, so much more that life had to offer him, so much more he would have achieved if only circumstances had been kinder to him. But it was not to be.”

Fr Curry urged mourners not to think of what he could have done but rather what he accomplished in his 20 years.

“So even though we are sad today there is much to be thankful for,” Fr Curry added.

“We are grateful for the life he did have, grateful for the way he lived that life and grateful for the tremendous joy and fun that he brought into people’s lives.

“The memories of someone special, someone who loved music. Someone who enjoyed life to the full.

“I’m told that Petey had numerous friends, too many to count and to all of them he was a true and loyal friend.

“He was a hard worker, up early in the morning, good with his hands. But he  could also being reflective because he had a sensitive personality.”

He said that the deaths were not the way for any family to begin a new year.

Fr Curry added: “In recent days I have visited the homes of the four families affected by this tragedy. All of them have been an inspiration in terms of their dignity and I’m sure they will carry much consolation from these dark difficult days.”

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