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'devastating' President Higgins joins family of Urantsetseg Tserendorj at anniversary mass

Ulambayar Surenkho described his late wife as a central part of the Mongolian community in Ireland.

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Ulambayar Surenkho, widower of Urantsetseg Tserendorj holding a picture of his wife at her remembrance Mass in St Kevin’s Church on Harrington Street, Dublin. Pic Mark Condren

Ulambayar Surenkho, widower of Urantsetseg Tserendorj holding a picture of his wife at her remembrance Mass in St Kevin’s Church on Harrington Street, Dublin. Pic Mark Condren

Ulambayar Surenkho, widower of Urantsetseg Tserendorj holding a picture of his wife at her remembrance Mass in St Kevin’s Church on Harrington Street, Dublin. Pic Mark Condren

President Michael D Higgins has described the death of Urantsetseg Tserendorj nearly a year ago as “a devastating tragedy that affects us all.”

Mr Higgins joined family and friends of Ms Tserendorj at a special remembrance service that was held at St Kevin’s Church, Dublin 8 on Sunday afternoon, which drew a large crowd of people from various faiths and backgrounds.

Members of the Mongolian community in Ireland filled the back three rows of the church and they were warmly welcomed as “special guests” by chief celebrant Fr Gerard Deighan.

Speaking after the service, Ulambayar Surenkho described his late wife as a central part of the Mongolian community in Ireland.

“Last year there was a lockdown so we could not do anything bigger than a mass. She was very well-known in the Mongolian community, and she was a lovely person and the Mongolian people wanted to show their respect for her and my family,” he added.

The anniversary event was co-organised by Gonchigkhand Byambaa who described Ms Tserendorj as “our beautiful sister”.

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Urantsetseg Tserendorj,

Urantsetseg Tserendorj,

Urantsetseg Tserendorj,

“She was the core member of our community, she was friends to everybody, she was mentoring many Mongolians who landed here. We would like to remember her, we would like to honour her,” she said.

Ms Byambaa added: “I’m not feeling sad today actually, it was a beautiful service… Mongolians again felt the love from Irish society, and I think Mongolians are very happy and we are all genuinely lovingly surprised with how people reacted today.”

The remembrance was also attended by former Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu and Dublin TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill.

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Ulambayar Surenkhor, widower of Urantsetseg Tserendorj holding a picture of his wife at her remembrance Mass in St Kevin’s Church on Harrington Street, Dublin.

Ulambayar Surenkhor, widower of Urantsetseg Tserendorj holding a picture of his wife at her remembrance Mass in St Kevin’s Church on Harrington Street, Dublin.

Ulambayar Surenkhor, widower of Urantsetseg Tserendorj holding a picture of his wife at her remembrance Mass in St Kevin’s Church on Harrington Street, Dublin.

Speaking after the service President Higgins said Ms Tserendorj’s death was “a devastating tragedy that affects us all."

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“I was anxious to let her husband and her daughter, who is doing the Leaving Cert this year, know that we stood in solidarity with them… It’s a privilege to come along and I just wanted to thank the people who brought the service to my attention, so I am able to acknowledge it in my own,” he said.

Mr Surenkho has spoken recently about the difficulty he is having in securing suitable accommodation for him and his daughter since his wife’s death.

President Higgins added that he is “very conscious of their housing needs” and “they should be met."

Urantsetseg Tserendorj lived in Ireland for several years prior to her death, and she had worked as a cleaner. Her husband Ulambayar still lives in Dublin with their 17-year-old daughter, while their son who is in his 20s lives in Mongolia. The 48-year-old died on February 3, 2021.

A 15-year-old male, who cannot be named because he is a minor, was charged with her murder and is due before the courts this year.

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