Mother asked for tickets to her own son's funeral

Alison O’Reilly  A petition has been posted online by a grieving family who have hit out at “shocking Covid restrictions” after their mother was initially refused into her son’s service, because she didn’t have one of 50 tickets for funeral. David Redmond, 34, was buried on Thursday 26th August after passing away suddenly from a heart-attack at his home in East Wall in north inner city Dublin on 20th August. His heartbroken family say, the funeral service was “ruined” by a series of strict rules related to Covid. They include, admission only by 50 tickets, banning an offertory procession, no live streaming of the event and no prayers said in the home prior to his funeral. Speaking last night, devastated Leah Redmond, David’s only sister, said her family are still in “complete shock” at the way her late brother’s funeral mass was organised. She said: “We are just heartbroken, David’s funeral was chaotic. We had a lot of difficulty first of all trying to get the priest Fr Richard Shannon to say mass. David died on Friday 20th August and we wanted to lay him to rest on the Monday or Tuesday. But the priest wasn’t available and he said he doesn’t work on Wednesdays. He said he could do it on the following Friday, but that was just too late for us, he died the previous Friday. So Jennings Funeral Home really helped us and Fr. Richard agreed to do that Thursday, 26th August. “But he never came to the house at all to say prayers with David. We understand about Covid, but he could have come to the gate or something, we live opposite the church. In the end, when the lid of the coffin was going on, we had to get an elderly neighbour in to say the rosary. My older family would be religious, so they wanted the rosary. We were already dealing with David’s sudden death. He died from heart problems which run on my mother’s side, she had two brothers who died suddenly at 36 and 45 and David was attending hospital. “Then Fr. Richard said they don’t do live streaming of the funeral and people in East Wall wanted to see it, and other family who couldn’t travel. So we hired a camera operator, his correct title is ‘Drone Operator’ and I told the priest that. He had a tripod and was going to stream the funeral for us on a camera. “The next thing was, we were given 47 tickets for the funeral – we were meant to have 50. We were so stressed out we didn’t know who to give them to. On the day of David’s funeral, everyone was stopped going into the church with the tickets and my mother Catherine forgot hers, she was too busy grieving for her son, she was heartbroken. Two people collecting the tickets, stopped my mam from going into the church. Only for one of them knew my mam and that she was David’s mother, I don’t know what would have happened. They were also asked the people carrying David’s coffin for tickets. “Once we got inside, the priest came down suddenly and said ‘you can’t have a drone operator in here’. I was explaining to him there is no drone that is just his title. Then he wouldn’t let us bring up the offertory gifts, we had to had them up on the alter when the coffin arrived there. “We didn’t know who to give tickets to and then we ended up with three short, but also, ten people didn’t come in, but the priest was telling us ‘there was too many in the church’, even though the limit is 50 and these were the church’s tickets but only 37 were there. “We were also told we could have no readings and only holy songs. The eulogy was said at the start of the mass but not a single member of David’s family was on the alter saying any prayers. Sr. Helen at the church did a reading. “You couldn’t make this up, it was crazy, we didn’t know what was going on”. Leah said things “got worse” when they brought David to Balgriffin cemetery for his final resting place. She said: “We went to went to Balgriffin and the priest didn’t show up at all and we were waiting twenty five minutes, we had to get our cousin Abbie, a teenager, to sing at the graveside, Sr. Helen came late and said a few prayers but that was after David was lowered into the grave. “We all still in shock, and hurt and we paid the church for the service but it was Jennings who were brilliant, only for them, we don’t know what we would have done. “They were apologising for the church even though it was nothing to do with them”. Leah said her family has made a complaint to the Archbishop Damien Farrell, she has also set up a petition “Grieving family, friends and local residents treated with the right respect and support” highlighting her concerns. Leah said: “We just want answers as to how this was allowed to happen. David deserved better and we are just heartbroken”. When contacted Sr Helen who was involved in the funeral service with Fr Richard Shannon said “It’s a very difficult time for everyone and we were following Covid guidelines. We were only allowed to have 50 in the church, so we tried to organise people using tickets. “We were abiding the government guidelines and the diocese guidelines. How we started the tickets was, a woman died and her close friend didn’t get in to the funeral as the number had exceeded the limit, so we decided it would be better for the family to give out the tickets and let them decide. If people are not regular church goers, we might not recognise them. “We can’t take chances when it comes to Covid, we can’t people are vulnerable and we can’t have the virus spreading, so we don’t have offertory gifts during covid for movement. “The readings were the same, and they have been lifted now, those restrictions. But everything was part of the guidelines. We came up with the tickets. “As I reader, I read the prayer at the funeral so that there is no movement of the family. It is very hard for people and hard for the church. “The restrictions have been lifted a bit, now we can have sixty percent capacity. In relation to the priest not attending the burial of David Redmond, Sr. Helen said “It is not the function of the priest to go to the burial. They don’t all go, the Diocese is now training people to go to the burials and to the house for prayers, but we couldn’t go to the house for prayers because of Covid. “In a lot of parishes, the sisters or deacons or lay people do the prayers at home or the burials. “We also don’t have live web cams because we can’t afford it. The money we have goes to the upkeep of the church. I am not on facebook but I heard about the petition”. 

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