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The funeral procession of Kiea Mc Cann.
Monaghan tragedy

‘God is in Clones’ says parish priest as 'soul friends' killed in Monaghan crash laid to rest

Mourners at Kiea Mc Cann’s funeral were told of how she and her ‘soul friend’ Dlava Mohamed had died with their hands touching.

“THE HANDS OF the two girls touching, as though they knew they were off to heaven together.”

At this afternoon’s funeral service for Kiea Mc Cann at the Sacred Heart Church in Clones, parish priest Father John Chester told the congregation about Kiea’s father’s recollection of the scene of the crash.

Kiea, aged 17, and Dlava Mohamed, 16, were described by Fr Chester as “soul friends” and the funerals of each took place this afternoon.

The girls, who were being driven to their Debs ball on Monday evening when they were killed, had been close friends since Dlava’s family arrived in Clones as part of a resettlement programme for Syrians.

download Dlava Mohamed and Kiea Mc Cann Largy College Largy College

Further recalling a conversation he had with Kiea’s father at their home, Fr Chester told mourners in Clones: “He (Kiea’s father) described conducting CPR on his daughter and her soul friend Dlava, but with no success.

“No father should have to witness such a terrible scene.”

Students from Largy College and principal Sharon Magennis lined the steps of the church in Clones, while motorcycles revved in tribute to the racing fan ahead of the arrival of the hearse topped with floral tributes.

The bikers were from Bad Examples Motorcycle Club, who take part in local charitable initiatives, and Gone But Not Forgotten Bikers, an organisation that remembers bikers who have lost their lives on the road.

As the hearse carrying Kiea’s remains made its way up to the Sacred Heart Church, ‘Daddy’s Girl’ by country singer Red Sovine played on a loudspeaker.

F2my5cwXMAA6XQA Bikers outside the Sacred Heart Church in Clones today before Kiea Mc Cann's funeral service. Diarmuid Pepper / The Journal Diarmuid Pepper / The Journal / The Journal

Among the gifts brought before the altar at Kiea’s funeral was a Minnie Mouse teddy (“a friend to Kiea in her youth,” remarked Fr Chester), an iPhone (“where would any young person be without their phone?), and Kiea’s Debs photo, taken just an hour before her passing.

Kiea was remembered in Fr Chester’s homily as a “kind, whole-hearted, genuine” teenager who “respected others irrespective of race and creed”.

He added that both Kiea and Dlava would have been “most proud” of how the “deeply united” community in Clones had come together, with streets lined by people paying their respects.

“God is in Clones,” said Fr Chester, “and God was at the Mount of Olives the night before the death of His Son Jesus.

“He sent His angel to comfort Jesus and give Him strength, and no doubt God will send His angel to comfort Kiea’s family.”

Following the service, Kate Bush’s ‘Keep Running Up That Hill’ played and mourners carried single white roses as they followed the hearse to Mount St Oliver’s Cemetery where Kiea was laid to rest.

At the same time, funeral prayers were held for her “soul friend” Dlava at the Clonskeagh Mosque and Cultural Centre in Dublin.

A hearse carrying Dlava’s remains in a white coffin left the family home in Clones early this morning for the two-hour journey to the mosque.

A coach transporting family and friends of the teenager followed the cortege to Dublin.

When it arrived, her body was washed and shrouded according to Islamic tradition in five pieces of white cloth.

Her family then spent time with her in private until the funeral prayer, which began shortly before 2pm.

FUENRAL 14 (1) Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

Gathered together in a place that represents the heart of their community, Dlava was laid to rest by a community that knew her as “sister”.

The service, in contrast to that of her friend Keia taking place over 100km away, was one of near silence.

The prayers of the mourners, led only by the intermittent “Allahu Akbar” of their imam, were given personally, and quietly.

Capture A prayer service for Dlava Mohamed at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Dublin Cillian Sherlock / PA Cillian Sherlock / PA / PA

Great care was made on behalf of those working at the centre to make the visitors unfamiliar with the protocol of an Islamic funeral feel welcome.

A representative was on hand to answer any questions, and a translator was provided so that the eulogy of Sheik Hussein Halawi was understood by all.

Sheikh Hussein Halawa said Dlava’s death “shook” the Muslim community and the people of Ireland.

He added: “I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the father, mother and all family members”.

The service consisted of an opening prayer from the congregation, followed by a short prayer over the coffin before it was removed for burial in Newcastle Muslim Cemetery.

FUNERAL 05 The coffin of Dlava Mohamed leaving the Clonskeagh Mosque & Culture Centre after her funeral today. Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

After Dlava’s ceremony, Dr Ali Selim, a senior member of staff at the Islamic Cultural Centre, reflected on the impact the tragedy has had for the Muslim community across Ireland.

“It’s a very sad day, especially when you think of the circumstances of the (Mohamed) family,” he said.

“They ran away from Syria because they didn’t feel safe, looking for protection, and unfortunately the place where they thought they would be safe, they were hit with this tragedy.”

-With additional reporting from Steven Fox and Press Association