‘Too many deaths’ on local road, funeral of Tyrone crash victim hears

The funeral mass on Sunday afternoon took place in St Matthew’s Church in Garvaghy, close to the scene of the crash.

Dominic McGrath
Sunday 02 January 2022 17:02
Family members hold onto the coffin of Nathan Corrigan, 20, as it is carried from St Matthew’s Church (Oliver McVeigh/PA)
Family members hold onto the coffin of Nathan Corrigan, 20, as it is carried from St Matthew’s Church (Oliver McVeigh/PA)

The funeral of Nathan Corrigan, one of three young friends killed in a crash in Co Tyrone, heard on Sunday of how a “life was cut short”.

Peter Finnegan, from Clogher, Peter (Petey) McNamee, from Garvaghy, and Mr Corrigan, from Sixmilecross, all in their 20s, died in a crash near Ballygawley in the early hours of Monday morning.

The funerals of Mr Finnegan and Mr McNamee took place on New Year’s Day.

The funeral on Sunday afternoon of Mr Corrigan took place in St Matthew’s Church in Garvaghy, close to the scene of the crash.

Parish priest Fr Michael O’Dwyer called on the authorities to prioritise the long-promised upgrade of the A5 road in the wake of the crash.

Flowers left at the scene of the road accident close to the funeral service for Nathan Corrigan, 20 (Oliver McVeigh/PA)

“The deaths of Nathan and Peter Finnegan and Petey McNamee have highlighted again the danger that the present A5 road poses and the need for an upgrade,” he told the congregation.

“This community and this Church has witnessed too many deaths and accidents and borne the cost at a great price, and that is just one section of the road.”

“Those who oppose the upgrade of the A5 might use the initials of a road traffic accident, RTA. Using those letters perhaps for them masks the reality of what happened last Monday morning.

“But they did not meet the first responders who were neighbours, nor the first responders from the emergency services, nor the priest who attended the scene.

“They did not share the worry and anxiety of parents who on hearing of the accident checked bedrooms to see if their children were all accounted for.

He was well thought of at work, not just for his work and being willing to learn but also for his banter

Priest Michael O'Dwyer

“Nor did they stand at the door of the Corrigan home as a policeman arrived to tell Kate and Damian and Callum that Nathan was lying dead just yards from their home. The nightmare had become a reality.”

“I hear a lot these days about pro-life,” he said.

“The upgrade of the A5 is a pro-life issue.”

Mr Corrigan would have turned 21 in a matter of days, Fr O’Dwyer said on Sunday.

“He enjoyed playing football at a time, but the hand skills of Gaelic were used more recently on a hand control of an Xbox as he manoeuvred a soccer ball and players on Fifa games.

“As most young men do, he enjoyed the company of friends – various circles of friends covering a wide geographical area that included Sixmilecross, Beragh and Clogher.

“Last Sunday night was just another night out enjoying the craic and the company and living in the moment – the possibility of anything different was not even on the horizon.”

“Nathan experimented with work – at a time he loved farm work – and was very happy and content in his present job as a welder. He was well thought of at work, not just for his work and being willing to learn but also for his banter”

“Nathan’s life could mirror many young men of his age – a life full of possibility, of hopes and dreams for the future, for all his tomorrows. But tomorrow never came. His life was cut short in the early hours on Monday morning.

Flowers left by family and friends remained on the roadside, as crowds lined the route from the home of Mr Corrigan to the church.

Large crowds remained outside the small church during the service, as the tight-knit community gathered for the funeral.

Mourners on Saturday heard how the tragedy has cast a dark cloud over Tyrone and has left people shocked and bewildered.

Their friend Michael Moore who was also in the car, is seriously ill in hospital.

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