Two teenage best friends killed in a road crash were touching hands in the aftermath, as if they knew they were going to heaven together, mourners have been told.
Kiea McCann, 17, and Dlava Mohamed, 16, were travelling to an end-of-school-year ball when the crash happened just outside Clones, Co Monaghan, on Monday.
Their funerals were held on Thursday. The girls had been close friends since Dlava’s family arrived in Clones as part of a resettlement programme for Syrians.
Funeral prayers for Dlava were held at the Clonskeagh Mosque and Cultural Centre in Dublin ahead of burial in Newcastle Muslim Cemetery while a mass for Kiea was held at the Sacred Heart Chapel in Clones before burial in Mount St Oliver’s Cemetery. Students from their school, Largy College in Clones, formed guards of honour at both services. At Kiea’s funeral, priest Fr John Chester spoke of her father Frankie’s frantic actions as he arrived at the scene of the crash and performed CPR on his daughter and her “soul friend” Dlava.
“The hands of the two girls touching as though they knew they were off to heaven together,” Fr Chester said. “No father should have to witness such a terrible scene.” A hearse carrying Dlava’s remains left the family home in Clones early on Thursday for the two-hour journey to the mosque. At the mosque the prayer service was told the crash “shook the entire Muslim community and the entire people of Ireland”. Sheikh Hussein Halawa said: “I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the father, mother and all family members.” Afterwards, Dr Ali Selim, a senior member of staff at the Islamic Cultural Centre, said it had been a “very sad day”.
“Especially when you think of the circumstances of the (Mohamed) family,” he said. “They ran away from Syria because they didn’t feel safe, looking for protection, and unfortunately the place where they thought they would be safe, they were hit with this tragedy.” A large crowd of mourners walked behind the cortege from Kiea’s home to the church ahead of her service in Clones. A number of motorbikes revved at the church ahead of the arrival of the hearse, which was topped with floral tributes.
Many of the mourners wore light blue T-shirts bearing a photograph of the teenager wearing her red formal dress. Representatives of Irish President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attended both funerals. In a mark of respect and support, hundreds of people formed guards of honour in Clones as the two teenagers’ remains were taken back to their family homes in recent days. Three other occupants of the car were also injured after the vehicle veered off the N54 and into a tree, just outside Clones, on Monday at 6.45pm. An 18-year-old woman is in a critical but stable condition at Cavan General Hospital, while a 60-year-old man is in a critical condition at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital. An 18-year-old man also suffered non life-threatening injuries.
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