Hundreds of mourners gathered at a rural Co Londonderry church today to pay their respects to a woman who was killed in a farming accident.
Breige McKeefry, aged in her 70s, died after being attacked by cattle on her family farm off Carhill Road in Garvagh on Wednesday.
The mother-of-six was laid to rest this morning following Mass in St Mary’s Church, Craigavole, about five miles outside Garvagh.
Among those attending was former SDLP Assembly member John Dallat, who knew the family for many years.
He said: ‘The huge attendance at the funeral of Breige is testimony to the high esteem she and her family are held in the whole community.
‘The genuine shock felt by people far and wide that such a good person should die in such tragic circumstances was manifestly felt by all who packed into the church or stood in silence in the grounds outside.”
In his address, Mrs McKeefry’s brother-in-law, Father Brendan McKeefry talked about her commitment to the community she lived in, her dedication as a mother, her hard work on the farm and her work as a cook in local schools.
Mr Dallat added: “I am sure that it was all those factors that caused so many people to come and express their heartfelt sorrow that Breige has been taken from her family so suddenly.
“Her loss to them cannot be described but the wider community has also lost a good friend who was never afraid to express her views which were always in the interests of a better future for everyone.”
SDLP Councillor Roisin Loftus, who visited the McKeefry home on Saturday, said the family had been left “heartbroken” by the tragic accident.
She added: “I attended Mrs McKeefry’s wake and the family are absolutely devastated by what has happened.
“She was a decent, hard working woman. The family is well-known and well-respected in farming circles and my thoughts and prayers are with them at this very difficult time.”
DUP Councillor Michelle Knight-McQuillan said the tragic accident served a grim reminder of the dangers of working in the farming industry.
She added: “Farming is not a job you retire from, it is a way of life. Tending to cattle is something Mrs McKeefry would have done regularly throughout her farming career. You never expect something like this to happen.”
Mrs McKeefry is survived by her husband Mickey, children Michele, Fiona, Brendan, Olive, Michael, Johnny and siblings Sean, Gary, Jim, Mary, Alice and Joan.