Thousands of people, including former president Mary McAleese and her husband Dr Martin McAleese, made their way to Carrick-on-Shannon late last week for the funeral of Andrew Dolan, who passed away on New Year’s Day, 10 days after he was assaulted while on a night out with friends in Mullingar.
At the funeral last Friday in St Mary’s, the crowd spilled out the doors and down the steps, such was the sheer number of people who came to pay their respects. It was obvious that even in his short life, Andrew touched the lives of so many.
The 20-year-old son of local hotelier, Joe Dolan and his wife, Rosie, Andrew was described by Fr Frank Garvey at Friday morning’s funeral as a gentle soul who never even raised his voice in anger.
Fr Garvey questioned why people no longer felt safe on the streets of our towns and cities and he urged all young people to “treat life as a precious thing” and to “live life within its rules and within its cautions”.
“May you all have the will and determination to ensure that (this) won’t happen again to you or to any of your young friends,” he said in his homily.
Speaking on behalf of the Dolan family Andrew’s devastated aunt, Dr Heather Laird, said that their “much loved Andrew was pronounced dead on New Year’s Day, but the real tragedy happened at 2.48am on the 23rd of December” when he was assaulted.
Despite the unimaginable pain the following days had brought to the family, it was of great comfort to the Dolan’s that they had been able to fulfil Andrew’s wish to be an organ donor, changing the lives of three seriously ill people for the better.
“On his behalf, I would like all of you here today to consider carrying a donor card,” she said.
See this week’s Leitrim Observer for a our special tribute to Andrew Dolan.