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Covid breaches Two arrested and over 80 fines issued after hundreds attend funeral in Leitrim

Co-director of Pavee Point Martin Collins said it was “not acceptable for anybody settled or Traveller to be in breach of the guidelines”.

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Mourners follow the hearse

Mourners follow the hearse

Mourners follow the hearse

Two people were arrested and more than 80 FPNs (fixed penalty notices) were issued by Gardai yesterday after hundreds attended a funeral in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim.

It has been reported that as many as 300 people gathered for the funeral of a popular local man, Davey Reilly, with pictures showing crowds walking along country roads after the service.

The mass was celebrated on Thursday by Fr Frank Garvey PP in St Mary’s Church with a reduced number in attendance.

However, hundreds then made their way on foot to attend the burial in nearby St Mary’s Cemetery.

The Leitrim Observer reported how following the Mass, the coffin was taken by a horsedrawn hearse to St Mary's Cemetery, stopping at the Hartley junction where it was carried the remainder of the way.

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The casket was drawn to cemetery in a horsedrawn hearse with hundreds of people following

The casket was drawn to cemetery in a horsedrawn hearse with hundreds of people following

The casket was drawn to cemetery in a horsedrawn hearse with hundreds of people following

“None of the mourners were seen to wear face masks,” it noted.

It has also been claimed that a number of vehicles and pedestrians were turned away at checkpoints by Gardai but that a large number of mourners gathered in a local car park near the estate before “breaking though” the checkpoint.

Under Level 5 guidelines, attendance at funerals is limited to just ten and only close family should attend the church and graveyard.

Gardaí confirmed that officers in Leitrim carried out a policing plan “around a funeral that took place in Carrick-on-Shannon Co Leitrim on March 10 and 11”.

“An Garda Síochana liaised with the relevant parties in advance and is not investigating any breaches in respect of the church element of this funeral, Gardai said, adding, “funerals are not a penal regulation.”

However, Gardai revealed that In excess of 80 FPNs “have issued in respect of breaches of the public health regulations”.

“On Wednesday March 10, two arrests were made under the public order act,” Gardai added.

Gardai did not refer to claims that mourners “broke through” a Garda checkpoint.

“An Garda Síochána will carry out an investigation into the organisers of any event which is in breach of the public health regulations,” they added.

There were also reports that dozens of British and Northern-registered cars descended on the hometown of HSE chief Paul Reid where a marquee was erected for mourners.

Mr Reid, who lives in the town, told the Irish Daily Mirror: “I’ve seen the pictures of the funeral in Carrick-on-Shannon. I think it is St Mary’s Church and obviously from what I see from the pictures I extremely condemn what is seen there.

“The public has taken so many restrictions on board, they’ve made so many sacrifices and it’s pretty demoralising to see such abuse of public health guidance and measures particularly for the people of Leitrim who have been doing really well on the very low cases throughout this Covid.”

Mr Reid said that funerals remain a cause for concern.

He said: “Our public health teams would regularly engage with funeral directors increasingly giving guidance about protections that need to be in place.

“It’s a very difficult position for priests to be put in but again they have been fantastic in working with us in terms of guidance they have given families at a difficult time.”

Co-director of Pavee Point Martin Collins said it was “not acceptable for anybody settled or Traveller to be in breach of the guidelines”.

“We all have to put our shoulder to the wheel and nobody is exempt from the rules in the same way nobody is exempt from the virus,” he said.

“As a travelling man I understand the importance of funerals in our community but customs and traditions have to take a back seat.

“We have to be careful that this doesn’t become another stick to beat Travellers with and it’s important to remember that breaches of restrictions have happened in all sections of society and often by those in the upper echelons.”

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