Hundreds of people attended the funeral of Derry teenager Andrew Quigley at St Joseph’s Church. Galliagh, this morning.
The body of the 19 year-old was recovered from the River Foyle on Monday after a month of searching.
The teenager had experienced problems with alcohol and drugs in the past.
The priest at his Requiem Mass, Fr Michéal McGavigan, described the 19 year-old as a “gentle giant.”
“Mixed with our sadness and grief there may well be confusion and frustration that Andrew died as he did. At 19 for Andrew the world was at his feet, a young life full of promise.
“Andrew, the big gentle giant with his distinctive voice, his big laugh and kind ways was so much loved and cared for. A young man who instinctively cared and helped and loved those around him,” he said.
Fr McGavigan also said Andrew had a love for life but had turned to alcohol and drugs in recent years.
“Over this life of light and love hung a shadow, a shadow that became exaggerated and unbearable under the influence of alcohol and drugs. A shadow that Andrew could not handle, under which, not wanting to hurt others didn’t allow him to see he was hurting himself.
“Perhaps Andrew’s naivety about life, thinking himself stronger than he was, thinking that drugs would make things better or make himself invincible fuelled the downward spiral that he could not turn around,” he explained.
The priest also called on young people to learn from the teenager’s death.
“We know that there is not one person in this church who would not have done anything in their power to help Andrew. There is no one to blame, no guilt to bear. But for all of us here especially young people, there are difficult lessons to be learned in the use of drugs,” he said.