More than 150 travelers attended a funeral for two teenage brothers in Cork, Ireland, despite applicable social distance rules to limit the spread of the corona virus.
Members of the local community had begged those in attendance to follow health advice and stay away from the church, but police watched as the large procession passed through Farranree, a Cork suburb.
Irish politicians demand answers from the police as to why the funeral could take place with so many people.
“Most people stick to it [the rules] despite not being able to attend loved ones’ funerals, which is a huge burden causing extreme grief and upset, “said Northside independent city council member Ken O’Flynn.
“But as far as travelers and their funerals are concerned, there appears to be one law for the general population and another for this particular ethnic group.”
A funeral procession led by two horse-drawn carriages and followed by more than 150 people from the traveler community, on foot or in separate vehicles, made their way to the Church of the Resurrection in Farranree in Cork, Ireland
Neighbors and politicians have expressed concerns about why the funeral should take place in this way, given the country’s social distancing measures to limit the spread of the corona virus. The police were present to guide direct traffic and could see the procession
The funeral was held for John and Michael Cash, two brothers reportedly in their teens, who died in tragic circumstances in America. The circumstances were unclear.
Their remains were repatriated and are now buried at St Catherine’s Cemetery in Kilcull, as 200 people later attended the funeral after collecting more outside the church. According to the guidelines, a maximum of 10 people are allowed to attend funerals during the coronavirus crisis.
The funeral procession included two horse-drawn carriages, each led by four horses, carrying the coffins and relatives, with a number of people walking along the road next to the carriages or following in separate vehicles.
Another smaller horse-drawn carriage was also seen in front of the two larger carriages, with two mounted men leading the way.
Pictured: Two riders at the head of the procession lead the way down the street to the Church of Resurrection in Farranree, a suburb of Cork
Despite pleas from the Chaplain of the Cork Traveler Community, who asked members of the community to respect public health advice and follow the social distance guidelines that were there to stop the spread of the corona virus, large crowds gathered outside Farranree’s Church of the Resurrection.
Although people were not allowed to enter the church, the locals watched in disbelief as people hugged and shook hands and stood in large groups.
It turned out that people had traveled long distances to attend the funeral, with license plates from all over Ireland and the UK visible on the cars and caravans parked outside.
“I counted license plates from at least nine counties on cars parked around the church,” said one local resident.
The funeral was held for two brothers – John and Michael Cash, both reportedly in their teens – who died in “tragic circumstances” in America. Their bodies were brought back to Ireland for burial
Funerals may still continue under government directives in Ireland, but should be limited to a maximum of ten close relatives
The Gardaí, the Irish police, said they had been in contact with the family before the funeral asking that everyone comply with the social distance guidelines, and the family also asked those present to respect the measures.
Gardai said in a statement, “A Garda Siochana had been in contact with the family prior to the funeral, and the guidelines surrounding funerals were clearly set forth.
“No notable incidents have been reported or are being investigated.”
Attendees, who reportedly traveled long distances, judging by the license plates on vehicles parked along the street, gathered in large groups and were seen cuddling and shaking hands outside the church. They were not allowed to enter the church, but went on to the funeral as a group
Gardai, the Irish police, was seen on the road guiding traffic and observing the procession as it came down the street, but reportedly did little to prevent groups from gathering. Irish politicians have said they will write to police chiefs asking why the funeral should be held
O’Flynn said that while he appreciated the tragic circumstances under which the funeral was held, he said everyone should follow the same guidelines.
“I know this is a tragic day and losing two young men is a terrible tragedy for any family, but I have friends and family who have had the heartbreak of not being able to attend loved ones’ funerals and have to deal with that heartbreak and sadness, the councilor said to the Irish sun.
“If everyone did that, they wouldn’t follow the Lockdown guidelines, which would break the rules down completely. Where would we be then. ‘
He added that he would contact the Chief Inspector in Cork and other police forces to find out what they plan to do under similar circumstances in the future.
Funerals are still allowed under government restrictions, but the mass is limited to only ten immediate family members.