A windswept farewell to a comic genius

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HUNDREDS of mourning fans, television and showbusiness stars, and Ireland's President Mary McAleese braved lashing rain to bid final farewells to Ireland's favourite wit, Dermot Morgan, star of the Father Ted television comedy, who died after a suspected heart attack at his London home last Saturday, writes Alan Murdoch.

St Theresa's Church in Mount Merrion, south Dublin was packed to hear his friend Father Michael Paul Gallagher say that "thousands are feeling the loss of a personal friend, though they never knew him". Ireland had "lost a comic genius," who was widely loved.

Morgan, 45, was best known in Britain for his role as the genial rogue Ted Crilly in the Channel 4 sit-com, banished to an island with two other priests.

His former wife, Susanne, and their two sons Donnchadh, 19, and Robert, 16, were present as were his partner of the last 11 years, Fiona Clarke, and their son, Ben, three.