Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now

"The violence is now at our door - it invades our town in two coffins"

The funeral mass for Larry and Martina Hayes, killed in last week’s terrorist attack in Tunisia, has taken place in Athlone.

The funeral mass for Larry and Martina Ha Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Updated 12.30pm

THE FUNERAL MASS for Larry and Martina Hayes has taken place this morning in Athlone, with parish priest Fr Liam Devine describing the popular couple’s deaths as “devastating” and something  that “no human experience of grief and loss could prepare a family for”.

The mass for Larry (56) and Martina (55) was held at 11 am at the church of  St Peter and Paul in the town.

The couple had been taking a final walk along the beach at the Sousse resort before flying home when killer Seifeddine Rezgui began his attack last Friday. They had been married for 32 years.

Ireland Tunisian Attack Funerals Source: AP/Press Association Images

“For some time now the violence of misguided ISIS terrorist fanatics have invaded our living rooms in a sanitised, sterilised way,” said Fr Devine in his homily.

We never thought it would trouble us here in Ireland, so far away.
Today it invades our town in two coffins.
The violence is now at our own door.

Fr Devine described Larry and Martina as “soulmates” who went everywhere together.

“They shared a common interest in gardening. Martina’s home was her castle,” he said.

She was a brilliant housekeeper. You would be hard pressed to find a speck of dust in the house.  Efforts to find fingerprints in the house proved futile, such was the pristine state of everything.

The mass heard how both Larry and Martina were from well-known Athlone families.

The funeral mass for Larry and Martina Ha Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

“Larry, or Lonnie as he was known, was the youngest of five, two girls and three boys.  They were from Altown here in Athlone.  Martina Kelly, a native of Kiltoom in South Roscommon,  was the youngest of eleven, eight girls and three boys,” said Fr Devine.

They were private and highly respected people.

larry Martina and Larry Hayes Source: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Fr Devine saved some measure of condemnation in his speech for killer Rezgui, declaring “the massacre of innocents is always an abominable crime”.

It is impossible to get inside the mind of someone who would carry out such an abominable act of violence.  We cannot judge people like that by our values and standards.
In an eerie sense Athlone is twinned with Sousse and Ireland is twinned with Tunisia through the sudden and violent deaths of Martina and Larry.

Tunisia terrorist attack Source: Brian Lawless

Making a difference

A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article.

Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can make sure we can keep reliable, meaningful news open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

Ireland Tunisian Beach Aattack Funerals Larry and Martina's daughter Sinéad is comforted at the funeral Source: AP/Press Association Images

The couple are to be buried in nearby Coosan cemetery after the service.

The two, along with Meath woman Lorna Carty, were among 38 dead as a result of the last Friday’s atrocity.

Eight people are currently being held in Tunisia in connection with the attack.

The couple are survived by daughter Sinéad, together with Larry’s brothers Seamus and Michael and sisters Ann and Della, and Martina’s brothers John Joe, Tommy and Billy, her sisters Evelyn, Ita, Della, Patricia, Pauline, Maureen and Veronica, uncles Andy and Steve, and many relatives and friends.

Lorna Carty will be laid to rest tomorrow following a mass at 12 noon at the Church of the Assumption, Robinstown, Co Meath.

Originally published 07.23am

Read: Brother of Irish woman killed in Tunisia: ‘She was our baby’

Read: Eight arrested in Tunisia with ‘direct links’ to beach massacre

Read next: