Northern Ireland

Hundreds attend funerals of Cork plane crash victims

A priest has told mourners at the funeral of one of the victims of the Cork air crash that it was a dreadful accident which had left six families bereft of their loved ones.

Pat Cullinan, 45, originally from Omagh, was a partner in accountancy firm KPMG in Belfast.

Requiem mass for Mr Cullinan was held at St Patrick's Church in Cranagh, outside Plumbridge.

The funeral of another crash victim Brendan McAleese, has also taken place.

It was held in St MacNissius Church, Tannaghmore, County Antrim.

The plane was travelling from the City Airport in Belfast when the tragedy happened on Thursday morning.

Three people from Northern Ireland were among those who died.

A representative of the Irish president attended requiem mass for Pat Cullinan.

He was described as an extraordinary, kind and charitable gentleman. Sympathy was extended to all the other victims' families.

Earlier, local parish priest, Joseph O'Connor said Mr Cullinan's family were "shattered" following his death.

Mr Cullinan's colleague, Jon D'Arcy, Chairman of KPMG in Belfast said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with Pat's family and friends at this terribly sad time.

Image caption Pat Cullinan was described as a 'loving family man'

"He was highly regarded by all of his colleagues and clients and his tragic and untimely death has come as a shock to everyone in the firm, especially to those in our Belfast office and to all who knew Pat as an exceptional friend and colleague."

Tom McBride is a cousin of Mr Cullinan's and said he was "first and foremost, a very dedicated, loving family person".

"He was one of a family of five and never forgot his roots," he said.

"He was always a quiet but very well-focused individual, who clearly had objectives and goals in sight, and went after them in a very quiet and dignified way. I don't think anybody is surprised by how well he did in his professional career."

Brendan McAleese, 39, who was originally from Tannaghmore, County Antrim, owned the Central Laundries business in Cookstown, County Tyrone, and was married with a young family.


His pregnant wife Anne Marie and their daughters Ava and Erin were among the mourners at St MacNissius Church.

Canon Malachy Murphy told the congregation "wasn't a selfish bone" in the businessman's body and that he was "first and foremost a family man".

"He had a warm personality, honest and generous," he added.

"Brendan was very popular.

"He was the heart and soul of any gathering he was in."

Mr McAleese was a cousin of the Irish President Mary McAleese's husband Martin.

Earlier, President McAleese, paid tribute to him, saying he was a fine and loving husband, father, son and brother.

Image caption Brendan McAleese owned a laundry business in Cookstown

"No words can ease their pain but I hope they draw some small comfort from knowing that our thoughts and prayers, both here and in homes throughout the country, are with them at this darkest hour," she said.

South Antrim assembly member, Thomas Burns, attended the McAleese family home on Sunday and was also at the funeral service.

He said the family were in "great distress", but "were holding up well".

"Brendan McAleese was a very successful business person, but he was also a tremendous family person," he added.

"It is a very close and tight community in Tannaghmore and they all feel very much for the McAleese family.

"Everyone has only the highest praise for Brendan, he was a loveable character."

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