Buncrana remembers Fr Joe

Fr Joe Quigley from Buncrana

Fr Joe Quigley from Buncrana

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The people of Buncrana will tonight honour a truly “great” person with a charity concert held in his memory in aid of the local Nursing Unit.

Fr Joe Quigley, who was 84 when he died in August last year, was a former missionary who retired to Inishowen around 12 years ago. He became an integral part of the local community.

A young Fr Joe

A young Fr Joe

Tonight in his memory the people of Buncrana are holding a charity concert in the Plaza featuring Country music sensation Nathan Carter, with all proceeds going to the Buncrana Nursing Unit.

Josie McLaughlin, Fr Joe’s lifelong friend, and carer in later years, said the priest was a “great blessing” for them.

Born in Durham in England, Fr Joe came to live with Josie and her family in Buncrana.

“Fr Joe lived with me in Buncrana for 11 years, and when he was fit and able he did a lot of good work around the town. He was a good man, and he was very popular with a lot of people in Buncrana.

“He did a lot of work in the secondary school and he said Mass in the nursing unit every Saturday while he still could.”

Dear to his heart

It was this reason why the group decided to hold an event in aid of the unit.

“The nursing unit was very dear to Fr Joe’s heart. He devoted a lot of his time to it, including saying the Masses there. We knew the unit needed a bit of money so that’s why we decided to hold the event in aid of it.”

Following his ordination in 1925, Fr Joe went to Africa to work as a missionary. It was after he was diagnosed with chronic malaria tht he was forced to leave.

One of the organisers of the concert, Michael Stamp, described Fr Quigley as an ordinary man who “didn’t care about the hierarchy within the church”.

“Fr Quigley is sorely missed by many people in the town. He was a popular character and had a great relationship with the pupils in Scoil Mhuire. It was surprising to see an older priest getting on so well with young people, but he always had a colourful story to tell us about his travels.

Difficult

“Life was extremely difficult for him in Africa. There was widespread poverty and the church especially was very poor there. He faced great difficulties in the basic surroundings.

“In a quiet way Fr Joe was very popular and so this is why we want to honour him with the concert tonight.”

Michael said he created an impression everywhere he went so they felt it necessary to remember him, almost one year since his death, due to the “outpouring of grief from young and old” his death caused.

Fr Joe was lied to rest in Cockhill following Requiem Mass in St. Mary’s Oratory in Buncrana, which was packed. 24 priests were in attendance on the day.

Doors for tonight’s concert in the Plaza in Buncrana open at 10pm and the band begin at 11pm.

Tickets are available at the door and everyone over the age of 18 years is invited to come along and support the cause.