The late Joe McCarron will be remembered, treasured and loved for a long time, mourners heard at his funeral Mass today.
The 67-year-old Donegal man, who died from Covid-19, was laid to rest in his hometown of Dungloe.
His funeral Mass heard of the fragility of life, and of the heartache and loss suffered by his family and friends.
Father Eddie Gallagher told mourners: “This is a very sad day, and we think of the bereaved who are broken-hearted on this day.”
“The best gift, the only gift, we can give to Joe McCarron today is our prayers.”
Mr McCarron was a Covid-19 patient at Letterkenny University Hospital. On Tuesday 14th September, he was removed from the hospital, against medical advice, by an activist who claimed that he was being forced into intensive care.
Mr McCarron was readmitted to hospital two days later. He was subsequently placed on a ventilator, but his condition deteriorated and he passed away on Friday.
“The person who will miss Joe most of all is his wife Una,” said Fr Gallagher. “We offer our prayers and sympathy to Una who today is widowed and broken-hearted.”
Mr McCarron, born in 1954, was a former radio DJ who was well-known in Dungloe. More recently, he was a carer to his wife of 38 years, Una.
A special welcome was given to Joe’s friends at the Mass, especially those in the AA fellowship.
“He was a very long time in the AA fraternity, and some are here today to remember Joe and honour his memory,” Fr Gallagher said.
As Mr McCarron’s life journey came to an end, mourners prayed that he would be free from worry and pain. Prayers were also said for the doctors and nurses who helped him and worked with him in Letterkenny University Hospital.
Fr Gallagher said, “I am sure like a lot of us, he had good days and difficult days. Life can be a bumpy road. I’m sure Joe had many good days and did many good deeds, especially in AA. I’m sure, like us all, he made mistakes. We ask God today to reward him for his good works and forgive him for any wrong he may have done.”
“We don’t have any guarantee that life will be a long journey,” said Fr Gallagher
“Joe was just 67 years of age. We don’t know how long our journey will take. We are not guaranteed tomorrow.”
Mr McCarron was laid to rest in the nearby Maghery Cemetery.
Mr McCarron’s case is one of a number of incidents relating to activists attempting to spread disinformation about Covid-19 at Irish hospitals. The Saolta Hospital Group has expressed “grave concerns” about the impact of Covid-19 denying activists on staff and patients.
Gardaí have also appointed a senior investigating officer to oversee an investigation into recent incidents at Letterkenny University Hospital.