Entries which appeared in St Patrick’s Day parades depicting a Carlow pensioner whose body was brought to a post office in an alleged attempt to claim his pension have been slammed as “disrespectful”.
Close friends and the parish priest within the Carlow community where pensioner Peadar Doyle lived have criticised the entries representing his death at the Belmullet Festival parade in Co Mayo and also at a parade in Kilfenora in Co Clare. One of the entries won an award for the depiction.
Mr Doyle (66) from Pollerton, Co Carlow died on Friday January 21st, and gardaí believe the pensioner was already dead when he was taken into his nearby post office by two men.
Rory Healy of R Healy and Son Funeral Directors, who managed Mr Doyle’s funeral and was also a good friend, said he was “horrified” to learn of the St Patrick’s Day parade entries.
“Allowing the entries to be made depicting what happened to Mr Doyle is deplorable and despicable. It’s so disrespectful to Mr Doyle’s family who have had a lot to deal with since his death two months ago," he said.
“They and everyone in the community are very upset that anyone would think it is alright and acceptable to mock his death. To make a joke out of it is disgusting, especially knowing what the family went through and are going through."
Family 'extremely upset'
The parade organisers from both Kilfenora and Belmullet were contacted for comment about the entries but no comment was made.
Former Independent county councillor Walter Lacey, who is also a friend of the Doyle family, said they are “extremely upset” but “buoyed” by the fact that the local community have condemned the parade entries.
“I want to offer my sympathies again to Peadar’s family and I’m loathe to think that what happened to him has to become public again. He was a decent, hardworking man all his life, was so well respected and liked by all who knew him. How people think it is okay to publicly depict what happened to him is beyond understanding,” said Mr Lacey.
A man is dead and to see a replica of him being dragged around in a parade is disgusting
“To do such a thing and mock the death of a man is simply incomprehensible, especially on St Patrick’s Day when we are supposed to be celebrating our Irish heritage and everything that is good about the country.
“How anyone could think that is okay, especially when there is an ongoing Garda investigation and a person in prison awaiting a court case regarding the matter, is taking place is offensive. There is also a coroner’s inquest pending. For the event to be repeated just for fun is totally unacceptable. It’s also bringing up the trauma of what happened for the post office staff.
“A man is dead and to see a replica of him being dragged around in a parade is disgusting and has offended his family and friends in Carlow. What the people of Carlow are simply seeking is an acknowledgement and an apology to put an end to this hurt and upset. A family is still grieving and that should have been thought of. The festival organisers have failed to engage.”
Respect for the dead
Members of the community have contacted both of the parade organisers looking for an apology to be given to the family, but have not heard from them.
Facebook images and videos of the entry from the Belmullet Festival organisers have been taken down from the social media platform. Mr Doyle’s family have also made contact with Clare County Council to ascertain who is responsible for holding the parade.
Fr Tom Little, parish priest of Askea in Carlow who celebrated Mr Doyle’s funeral Mass, said “people should have more respect for the dead”.
Fr Little added: “The family feel badly treated by the local Clare committee and that it (the entry) was not vetted. We don’t know yet what time Peadar died. It’s very, very, very wrong to make a skit out of his death. To make a skit out of this and to upset his family is unforgivable.
“They have made a humiliation out of the family. To do it on St Patrick’s Day is unbelievable. I’m so hurt for the family and everyone deserves to be treated in a Christian way. The family is hurt beyond belief. The loss of Peadar is immense for them. I hope the family will seek retribution about this.”
The family of the man has since commented on the matter, with Mr Doyle's niece stating his family are "angered at the representations" of her uncle.
Charmaine Dolye thanked her local community for their support shown to them, adding: “I want to extend my sincerest gratitude to all who have shown their support for my family and who have voiced their anger toward the ridicule that my uncle has received.
“We are angered by the representations that have been made in the public. However, the support that we have been shown has given us some comfort at this horrible time."
“Thank you for letting us know that we are not alone,” Ms Doyle said.