OVER 300 PEOPLE are said to have turned out for the funeral today of a Polish man who died alone in Ennis, Co Clare.
Cyril Cusack, an undertaker in Ennis, had offered to look after the funeral for the 51-year-old man, who died in his flat on Christmas Day. When he heard the man’s story being told on Liveline by local woman Josie O’Brien, comedian Brendan O’Carroll phoned in to offer to pay for the funeral.
O’Brien told Joe Duffy that the man, who had formerly been homeless, had been living in Ennis for around seven or eight years. He had availed of a Christmas Dinner programme that O’Brien helped organise.
The man’s landlord told O’Brien that he had died on Christmas day, and that his body was in the morgue since then.
Though the man had been identified, there was believed to be some confusion locally over the burial arrangements. But not only did Cusack and O’Carroll step in to help, but so did Clare County Council, who arranged a plot for the burial.
Music and a garda escort
Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Cusack said that the funeral was held at a scheduled community mass at 10am today, which was turned into a requiem mass.
“It went very, very well,” he said, saying that musician Siobhan Peoples, as well as a Limerick-based choir, performed at the ceremony.
He said that an appeal was put out on Facebook, which led to people across the country contacting him saying they would like to attend the funeral.
“A big crowd showed up,” he said. The casket was taken by garda escort to the graveyard for burial.
Cusack said that around 300 to 400 people turned out for the ceremony. “There were a lot of Polish [people]. He got a lovely, lovely send-off,” he said. “Two musicians followed up to the graveyard at Drumcliff.”
Cusack, who put off his holidays until tomorrow to make sure that the funeral ceremony was “made right”, said he was “delighted” to have done his part in putting the man to rest.
Originally published 6.06pm