Over a thousand mourners turned out for the funeral in Coalisland for James McDonagh on Sunday, one week after he passed away from injuries sustained in an assault in Toomebridge.
The McDonagh family were comforted by relatives and a large section of the travelling community as they laid the 28-year-old father-of-two to rest.
During the service, Fr Byrne told mourners: “We gather in complete dismay and sadness, even in a state of shock and anger that Jim has been taken from us”.
“His young life cut so short in tragic circumstances – circumstances that should have and could have been avoided.
“Violence has become too easy and too acceptable. Respect needs to be re-established in our world. Respect for human dignity, respect for human rights, respect for freedom, respect for life.”
He added: “Although his death has come so abruptly and at such a young age, we believe in the hope of eternal life and eternal peace. Nothing and no-one can ever harm him again. But the pain of his loss will throb in the hearts of his wife, Christina, his children, James and Patrick, in the hearts of his parents and sisters and brothers along with the entire family circle.”
Violence has become too easy and too acceptable. Respect needs to be re-established in our world. Respect for human dignity, respect for human rights, respect for freedom, respect for life.Fr Paul Byrne