Children of Tyrone crash victims Dan and Christine McKane tell of family’s pain
“We know our hearts will break forever but in this darkness you will glow. I’ll see you later daddy.”
The families of two siblings killed in a horror crash have described how they “lost so much” as a priest hailed their “dignity, courage and faith” during a funeral mass in Co Tyrone.
Loved ones wept as the coffins of Christine (49) and Dan McKane (53) were carried into the Church of Immaculate Conception in Strabane where they had both been baptised and confirmed.
Father Declan Boland thanked mourners, including First Minister Designate Michelle O’Neill, for the many “spontaneous gestures” of support after “unspeakable horror” unfolded so unexpectedly.
The siblings and their aunt, Julia McSorley, died when the minibus they were travelling in was in a collision with a lorry near Aughnacloy last Thursday morning.
Four other people were injured in the incident.
"This appalling tragedy has brought such intense grief and suffering to this area but I have seen shafts of light – the golden loving heart of our people," Fr Boland said.
The priest said the outpouring of support will be enough to help those grieving face the loneliness and loss of the difficult days ahead.
Mr McKane’s daughter Ruth read an emotional tribute from her and her sister Cara.
“We know our hearts will break forever but in this darkness you will glow,” she said.
“I’ll see you later daddy.
“You were the best father we could have dreamt of and for that we will be forever glad.”
Gary McKane also read a moving tribute on behalf of his two siblings and told mourners he will always be proud to call Christine McKane his mum.
"You were my best friend,” he said.
“Life won’t be the same anymore.
"We will miss you with all our hearts.
"We promise to be who you raised us to be."
Gary broke down in tears as he said the entire family has been left “stunned” by the tragedy.
"We have lost so much,” he added.
The congregation applauded as he concluded the heartbreaking farewell to “our loving precious mum.”
A representative of Irish President Michael D Higgins attended the funeral and paid his respects to the families on behalf of the head of state.
Fr Boland attempted to console grieving relatives as he invited them to place sentimental items beside the caskets.
"We are wounded by our grief. Our pain is deep,” he said.
A toy lorry, map and glasses were set beside Mr McKane, alongside a picture of his beloved dog Odie who was always with him.
"You would hear Dan McKane before you would see him,” mourners were told.
"He was a big-hearted and hard-working man who reared his two girls who are a great credit to him.
"Lorry driving and taxiing were his life.”
Mr McKane was remembered as a fun loving man who “would have gone the extra mile for anyone” and as a “gofer” in times of need.
"He always had a story and a joke – he loved fun,” Fr Boland said.
Family photos and a packet of Smarties was placed beside Ms McKane’s coffin as mourners were told she was a “chocoholic”.
"Christine was slight in stature but big in heart,” Fr Boland said.
“She had a great laugh, she was no pushover, one look said everything. She was a pocket rocket,” he said.
“She loved her Smarties, that was her diazepam.
“But her home, children and grandchildren were everything to her and she lived for them – she adored Nicole, Gary and Danny.”
Fr Boland said the mum-of-three had “turned her house into a palace” and was “so proud of her pad”.
The funeral took place a day after Julia McSorley was laid to rest following a Requiem Mass at St Eugene's Church in Glenock, near Newtownstewart.
The 75-year-old was remembered as "a beautiful soul" and "one of the most virtuous women of our generation".
Fr Boland urged the whole community to keep everyone affected by the tragedy in their prayers – including siblings Ina and Collette who are recovering in hospital.
He told family members that a woman who lives near the Royal Victoria Hospital has opened up her house and offered to drop them off and pick them up when visiting.
The priest also commended the thousands of people who attended a special rosary service on Friday – including many young people – who were hailed as “a ray of hope”.
"They didn’t just talk the talk, they walked the walk,” the priest said.
"It was one of the finest acts of community love and compassion that I have witnessed in almost 50 years of diocesan priesthood.
The brother and sister died alongside their aunt Julia when the minivan they were in collided with a lorry near Aughnacloy last Thursday.
They had been returning home from an aunt's funeral in England when the crash happened.
Fr Boland also thanked first responders and a local priest who attended the scene and tended to “our little family as they lay broken and dying on the road.”
“Life changed utterly in a flash coming round that bend in Aughnacloy,” he added.
"When we think they were coming from a requiem mass in Corby in England, it just accentuates the great pain and disbelief we have.
“A journey to give support and comfort to relatives in Corby ended in utter disaster.
"We’re stunned, we’re numb and speechless at what happened.”
The clergyman acknowledged the “dignity, courage and faith” shown by all those who have been bereaved.
"You can’t Google grief,” Fr Boland said. "Social media has nothing to offer.
"Our gadgets are totally silent, they have nothing to say – your computer cannot hug you when you are grieving."
Fr Boland said the entire community has been “ripped apart” by the tragedy which is a sombre reminder to everyone that “we are fragile”.
“We pretend we are not, but life is short,” he said. “That has been brought home to us in recent days."
“Our grief is total. Our wound is open.”
Following the service, Dan and Christine McKane’s coffins were carried to Strabane Cemetery where they were both laid to rest.
EXCLUSIVE | Kinahan cartel used tiny Iranian island to launder dirty money and for holidays
REMOVED | Email address at centre of Nicola Gallagher abuse claims controversy deleted
scandal | Eamonn Holmes defiant over explosive Phillip Schofield claims
CROOKED CARER | Nurse who raided vulnerable patients’ bank accounts to fund lavish lifestyle avoids jail
High Court action | Irish mother to use Infowars ruling in Gemma O’Doherty emotional distress case
LAtest | Seven men charged with attempted murder of DCI John Caldwell
Incredible | Rhasidat Adeleke smashes Irish 400m record with sensational run in California
Tragedy | Man (50s) dies in early morning collision in County Offaly
Vicious | WATCH: Michael Conlan’s world title bid ends with brutal knock-out
heartbreaking | Tributes paid to brave Ava Barry (13) who inspired the nation