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Hundreds of mourners turn out to pay their respects to Seamus Conlon

Seamus Conlon is laid to rest Seamus Conlon is laid to rest
Seamus Conlon is laid to rest Seamus Conlon is laid to rest
By Ciara Quinn

THERE were emotional scenes on Thursday as hundreds turned out to pay their last respects to 70-year-old Seamus Conlon.

A well-known and popular face in the Ballymurphy area, Mr Conlon died on Saturday after he and two other men were hit by a stolen car on the Whiterock Road.

Mr Conlon was returning from a funeral in the nearby City Cemetery. He was taken to hospital but later died of his injuries.

Frank Sinatra’s My Way was played as a tricolour was draped over his coffin outside his Ballymurphy Road home.
A horse-drawn carriage took the coffin to Corpus Christi church, reflecting Mr Conlon’s love of horses.

Parish Priest Fr Paddy McCafferty spoke of the “dark cloud of sorrow” that had hung over the parish since Mr Conlon’s death. “Tragedy visited our parish through this reckless endangerment of human life which took Seamus from us,” he said. “A stolen car crashed into Seamus, his friend and another pedestrian. The Lord God is our mighty help to Seamus’ family.”

Fr McCafferty spoke of how Seamus was synonymous with his “signature cowboy hat, his pony and trap and was one of the great characters of our community.” Fr Paddy added that Seamus died on the anniversary of his mother Mary’s anniversary.

In his Homily Fr Paddy addressed the issue of death driving.

“Stolen cars are being driven dangerously and recklessly at high speed along our roads and through our streets by persons often under the influence of alcohol and other substances that impair the ability to drive.

“The consequences, dear friends, on numerous occasions have been lethal. I want to mention in this Mass the great comfort it has brought to Kay and her family when Mr Gow, Lisa’s Gow’s father, visited with her. Mr Gow lost his daughter Lisa in April last year, killed also by the driver of a stolen car, her family left heartbroken also trying to cope with life without Lisa.

“Dear sisters and brothers the word ‘joyriding’ is often associated with these activities that result in such grief, once again we must ask, where is the joy in such behaviour? Joy is extinguished by car crime, joy is destroyed by those criminals who steal cars and drive them without regard for the lives of men and women and children. Heartbreak also results for the families of those who commit these crimes. We ask the Lord for healing and strength.”

He continued: “People of God, we must make an appeal to the authorities. There was always the potential for a tragedy such as this, such as what has happened. That a stolen car was driven through a main road. Those who perpetuate these crimes know that more often than not they will not receive a just and fitting punishment for their offences. Every possible effort therefore must be made at prevention, at apprehending the thieves and properly using the full force of the law to deter such activity. It is the law, not mob rule, which should deal with these criminals and that is what they are, criminals. and we should call them as such.”

Mr Conlon is survived by his wife Kay, daughter Geraldine, sons Seamus and Thomas and by grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was laid to rest in the City Cemetery.

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