Drug dealers ‘destroyers of life’, priest tells teenager’s funeral

Emma Doogan's funeral cortege leaves the Church of Christ the King in Omagh
Emma Doogan's funeral cortege leaves the Church of Christ the King in Omagh

Drug dealers were labelled “destroyers of life” and a “blight” on the community at the funeral of a teenage girl in Omagh who died from a suspected overdose.

In his homily for 19-year-old Emma Doogan in Omagh yesterday, parish priest Fr Kevin McElhennon had strong words for drug dealers but he insisted that even they themselves shouldn’t be “demonised”.

Emma Doogan who died on Saturday afternoon

Emma Doogan who died on Saturday afternoon

Instead, Fr McElhennon said: “They too need help to be released from the death-grip that has taken hold of them.”

In a touching homily at Christ the King Church, the parish priest described Ms Doogan, who was found dead in a flat in Omagh by members of her family on Saturday, as “intelligent and talented”.

Fr McElhennon said: “Emma was born a beautiful girl 19 years ago and despite the struggles of life, she remained a beautiful girl for all the short years of her life.”

Addressing the drugs issue, Fr McElhennon said: “The abuse of drugs and drink is a rejection of life.

“Anyone who peddles them or supplies them are destroyers of life.

“They disfigure and make ugly what is beautiful. They bring us low and make us less than we are capable of and less than all we are called to be. They tear lives and families apart. They blight our community.”

In a Christian message of kindness and forgiveness, Fr McElhennon added: “But they are not to be demonised for they too need help to be released from the death-grip that has taken hold of them.

“I got to know Emma when she moved here to the parish nine years ago. I remember her as a bright young girl at school, intelligent and talented.

“It is good to see staff and pupils of Christ the King Primary School, past and present, here to honour her memory and to acknowledge her place in the life of the school and this community.

“I also remember Emma as an altar server here in this church, courteous and respectful, generous with her time and talent.”

l A 24-year-old man faces a total of 10 charges following Ms Doogan’s death, including the supply of controlled drugs.