Funeral held for ‘greatly-loved’ rally car driver Daire Maguire

Mr Maguire died in a crash at a rally in Co Sligo on Sunday, alongside fellow driver Gene McDonald.

Claudia Savage
Thursday 20 July 2023 17:20 BST
The coffin of Daire Maguire is carried from the church (Mark Marlow/PA)
The coffin of Daire Maguire is carried from the church (Mark Marlow/PA) (PA Wire)

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A family has been left with a “hole in their hearts” after a “greatly loved” husband and father died in a rally crash, mourners were told.

The funeral of Daire Maguire, 46, from Lisnaskea in Fermanagh, was held on Thursday at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Newtownbutler.

Mr Maguire is survived by his wife, Breda, and two children, Megan and Christopher.

Mr Maguire died in a crash at a motor rally in Co Sligo on Sunday, alongside fellow driver Gene McDonald, 35.

Their car crashed into a wall at the sixth stage of the Sligo States Rally.

Father Saghar Sabir, who gave the homily at the service, said the nature of the accident left the family without even the opportunity to say goodbye.

“When tragedy strikes in our lives, we are left with a sudden and unexpected hole in our hearts,” he said.

“When we try to put into words how it feels, our throat stops up until it actually hurts. Our eyes are tired from the tears and the only thing we can do is cry for the loss we have suffered.

“To lose a much-loved husband or greatly-loved father, brings up emotions that no doctor can heal.

“My dear friends, it is good to weep over any loss, but especially when, one where you stand so helpless, having had no chance to care and prepare – no chance to even say goodbye.”

A rally car was parked at the front of the chapel as Mr Maguire’s coffin was carried inside, and one of the prayers made reference to the safety of rally car drivers.

A young member of the family read: “We pray for all the rally drivers and navigators and everyone involved in motorsports, that they will be kept safe wherever the road takes them.”

Fr Sabir said Mr Maguire’s family supported his love of cars and racing.

“Daire had a tremendous love of cars and had an old scrap in his parents’ yard,” he said

“He then took up rallying and motorsport over 20 years ago, rallying all over Ireland, and on a few occasions he went overseas.

“He had wonderful friends in the motorsport business, and no matter where the rally was Breda, Megan and Christopher were there too.”

Speaking of the rally at which Mr Maguire died, he added: “They would have watched him at the various stages of the rally and met him at service. They were on their way to meet him coming in, but God ordained otherwise.”

Fr Sabir told the mourners about the nickname Mr Maguire had for his family.

“Daire always called them the bear family, and when his mother asked him why he said bears stick together and they were like that,” he said.

Students from schools in the area as well as the president of Motorsport Ireland, Aiden Harper, and rally car driver Garry Jennings, were among the mourners.

Governing body Motorsport Ireland said it would carry out a full investigation into the double tragedy, alongside the Garda investigation.

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