float fiasco | 

St Patrick's Day parade organisers apologise to Carlow man's family for 'tone deaf' entry

"I really, really apologise because I can understand the hurt it has caused them over the last few days," Orla Vaughan has said.

Gordon Deegan

The organisers of a St Patrick’s Day Parade have written to relatives of Carlow pensioner, Peader Doyle to apologise for the ‘tone deaf’ entry that depicted his death.

Co-organiser of the annual parade staged in the Burren village of Kilfenora, Orla Vaughan admitted today that the only criteria for parade entries is "please turn up with a float."

Ms Vaughan said that there is no vetting of parade floats for the event.

In an interview with Alan Morrissey on Clare FM’s Morning Focus programme, Ms Vaughan said: “First and foremost to Noeleen, Peader’s sister and Liam and Christopher, Peader’s brothers in law, I really, really apologise because I can understand the hurt it has caused them over the last few days.”

Ms Vaughan said that “to bring back difficult times for them after the death of their brother and brother in law is terrible”.

The St Patrick’s Day parade at Kilfenora was one of two parades that depicted the dead pensioner, Mr Doyle being brought to a Carlow town post office in an alleged attempt to claim his pension.

Mr Doyle (66), from Pollerton, Co Carlow passed away on Friday, January 21st, and gardaí ­believe the pensioner was already dead when he was taken into his nearby post office although a postmortem has determined there was no foul play in the death itself.

Peader Doyle

The other parade which depicted the post office incident was at Belmullet Festival, Co Mayo.

Ms Vaughan said today that she and a co-organiser of the annual St Patrick’s Day parade sent a card on Monday apologising to Mr Doyle’s relatives.

Ms Vaughan said that she sent the card to the relatives care of the undertakers who looked after Mr Doyle’s funeral.

Ms Vaughan said that she understood why there has been such a furore over the entry.

She said: “It is absolutely no consolation to Noeleen and her family that we are now all sitting here now down-stricken looking ‘God, I am so sorry, that was tone deaf of us, we shouldn’t have done that’.”

Ms Vaughan said: “I have apologised in writing and I am apologising now and I would like to speak (to them) directly.”

She said: “We thought the best course of action was to talk directly to the family and to send them a card that was posted on Monday.”

She added: “I do know there is a family behind this who are still grieving the death and what followed from that.”

Ms Vaughan admitted that she didn’t see the ‘post office’ entry at the parade until it was coming back up the road at the parade.

She said: “We are 25 years doing the parade. We are a very small village and we are in competition with a lot of large towns around and the criteria is ‘please turn up with a float’.”

She said: “There is no vetting of floats and no looking at floats before they take off in a parade. To be honest, I wasn’t aware of the float until it was coming back down the village.”

Ms Vaughan said that she runs the parade with a co-organiser who was out sick last week “so it is ‘me, myself and I’ who have to take responsibility for this”.

Recalling the parade, Ms Vaughan said: “I was at the front with our master of ceremonies, St Patrick.

"All the little people go after him and then it is heavier vehicles and stuff like that. I headed up the road with that and it was coming back when I saw the float.”

Ms Vaughan said that the parade will have to look into vetting for future events after what has occurred.

She said: “This has caused a lot of hurt to Peader’s family and especially, I can’t imagine, what Noeleen is going through.”

Ms Vaughan said that there has been no criteria for parade entries and it acts off what has happened in the news over 12 months "and stuff like that".

She said: “Yeah, it is just unfortunate.”

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