'appalled'  | 

Man 'no longer employed' by Irish funeral directors after hearse driver films coffin and says he wants to 'start war'

The PSNI have confirmed they have spoken to a 54-year-old man and a file will be forwarded to the PPS

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Christopher Leebody

The PSNI confirmed they have spoken with a 54-year-old man involved in a viral video which appeared to show the driver of a hearse filming himself and a coffin in the car, before stating he was going to “start a war”.

The incident has been widely shared across social media, with police explaining a file has been forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service and the Newry funeral director involved condemning the video, confirming the man has also been removed from his job.

Heaney Keenan Funeral Directors Newry & Banbridge said they were “appalled and devastated” by the incident and confirmed the employee was “no longer employed by us”.

In the clip, the driver can be seen filming himself along with another passenger and the coffin in the back of the vehicle.

During the video, the driver then goes on to say: “Me and him is going to start a war and we’re going to put them all in yokes like that in the back (sic).”

The camera can then be seen turning to the coffin.

In a statement on social media, director Patricia Heaney said the video is “absolutely no reflection of the values or professional ethics” of the family business.

“As a business and family, we are appalled and devastated by the behaviour conducted in the video content shared across social media in recent days,” she wrote.

“As director of the company since 2018, I have worked to continue to build on the relationships with families and the communities across Newry, Banbridge, and neighbouring areas.

“I wish to protect the remaining members and loyal staff, who have gone above and beyond to uphold the legacy created by my grandfather Patsy Heaney and my great uncle Brendan Heaney.

“I can confirm that the employees in question are no longer employed by us.

“As always, I appreciate the support from local community and will be making no further comment on the matter.”

In a clarification to the post, Ms Heaney confirmed the passenger in the video had been “implicated by association”, was not a contracted employee and that she did not “hold him responsible for the actions of the driver”.

In a statement, a PSNI spokesperson said: “Police have spoken with a 54-year-old man in relation to this matter and a file will be forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service in due course.”

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