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'Deep grief' Priest tells mourners of bridegroom Miley Harty that cars are a 'lethal weapon'

Myles “Miley” Harty, who died in a single-car crash on the morning of his wedding, last Saturday.

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Mourners carry a banner at the funeral of Miley Harty in Askeaton, Co Limerick. Picture: Brendan Gleeson

Mourners carry a banner at the funeral of Miley Harty in Askeaton, Co Limerick. Picture: Brendan Gleeson

Mourners carry a banner at the funeral of Miley Harty in Askeaton, Co Limerick. Picture: Brendan Gleeson

A PRIEST has warned young men of the danger associated with driving on our roads, adding that, cars are a “lethal weapon."

Fr Seán Ó Longaigh, parish priest of Askeaton, Co Limerick, spoke today at the funeral mass of young bridegroom Myles “Miley” Harty, who died in a single-car crash on the morning of his wedding, last Saturday.

Mr Harty (20) was a front-seat passenger in a silver coloured Skoda hatchback which left a section of the R518 Askeaton to Rathkeale road and hit a pole around 1am. A rear-seat passenger was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The driver, a man in his late teens, was arrested at the scene of the crash and questioned by gardaí before he was released without charge, pending a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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The funeral of Myles 'Miley' Harty taking place in Askeaton

The funeral of Myles 'Miley' Harty taking place in Askeaton

The funeral of Myles 'Miley' Harty taking place in Askeaton

Speaking about road safety in a general sense, Fr Seán Ó Longaigh told those gathered at St Mary’s Church, Askeaton: “I want to make an appeal to our young people, because accidents are avoidable; cars a wonderful gift, a great amenity, but they are also a lethal weapon.”

“And so, the plea that, I’m sure many of us here would make, is to be aware of the danger to yourself and others when you drive a car - you are all too important to us to lose you,” Fr Ó Longaigh said.

Mr Harty, a member of the Travelling community, was to wed Kate Quilligan from Thomondgate, Limerick city, at St Munchin’s Church, on the morning of the fatal collision.

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The funeral of Myles 'Miley' Harty

The funeral of Myles 'Miley' Harty

The funeral of Myles 'Miley' Harty

Fr Seán Ó Longaigh told Mr Harty’s parents, Margaret and Myles Snr: “Your loss is great, nobody is really meant to bury one of their children, it’s a heart-rendering experience, but [Miley] has a cherished place in your hearts, a place he will never be displaced.”

“There’s a numbness, a disbelief, a grief that follows, and I’m sure there’s the difficulty, even still, of accepting that it has actually happened - it’s more like a bad dream.”

Fr Seán Ó Longaigh said Mr Harty and his fiancée Kate Quilligan ought to have had been celebrating their nuptials, “but then, of course, so many circumstances added sorrow to sorrow, and how much more difficult that made things, especially for his bride Kate”.

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“You and the rest of the family had to go from a day where you were to experience great joy to a day of deep grief, in a moment,” Fr Ó Longaigh said.

The fatal collision which Mr Harty died in, “ended all his dreams and possibilities”, he added.

Paying tribute to the 20-year old, Fr Ó Longaigh said: “I know that for Miley, his family were very important, especially his mother, and his grandparents”.

“As you all know Miley made friends easily and he had many friends, he lit up people’s lives; he loved horses, greyhounds, and hunting with his friends.”

Mourners shared a light-hearted chuckle, when the priest joked: “Miley was extremely generous and would share everything - but not, I believe, his kebab, his chips and his coke; there’s a limit to everything.”

Assisted by Church of Ireland Rev Canon Patrick Comerford, Limerick & Killaloe, Fr Ó Longaigh added that “crowds” had gathered around the family following the tragedy “to console you, but there is a grief there that only you have”.

An American steel casket containing Mr Harty’s remains was driven to the church in a black hearse, behind a sulky, and led by family members who walked with a banner, enshrined with photographs of relatives, and which read “RIP Miley, You Are With Your Family Now”.

Mourners, including Ms Quilligan, wore white T-shirts emblazoned with a photograph of Mr Harty, which read “R.I.P. BOSS”.

A large poster of the deceased and another one of him with his bride were displayed beside his coffin and floral tributes left at the church altar.

Well-known Limerick singer Sinéad O’Brien, from Patrickswell, performed songs including the Westlife hit You Raise Me Up.

A large crowd listened to the mass on a loud-speaker outside the church and along the street, while a smaller group of Mr Harty’s immediate family and close friends gathered inside.

Mr Harty’s loved ones brought items to the altar which were close to his heart, including a bottle of Coke, hair gel and deodorant, his mobile phone, a halter and rope, and a Limerick GAA jersey.

“He would have really enjoyed [the All-Ireland final] last Sunday, I’m sure he was looking on at it from another point of view,” Fr Seán Ó Longaigh concluded.

Mr Harty’s coffin was shouldered out of the church to a waiting white, four-wheeled horse-drawn carriage, to be taken to his final resting place at Reilig Mhuire Cemetery, Askeaton.

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