There was a large turnout for the funeral of the late Peggy O’Hara in Derry as people from across the country gathered at the Long Tower chapel to say farewell to the much loved mother of INLA hunger striker Patsy who died in Long Kesh in May 1981, 61 days into his protest.
The remains of Mrs O’Hara, 86, were brought to the funeral mass in a horse drawn carriage; a tricolour flower arrangement on top said simply “friend”.
In his eulogy the Reverend Brendan Collins said that he had learned much about Peggy as he sat with her family during the wake and added that he had been particularly struck by the “high esteem” in which she was held by all who had known her.
“She was well known in the community and beyond, with people coming to today’s funeral from far and wide and was a huge source of comfort and support for so many,” he said.
“When we reflect on Peggy’s life we think of the question ‘how did she do it’?
“How did she keep her spirits up? She was a strong person of great faith. Father Paddy O’Kane who brought communion to Peggy every month and is in Lourdes today told me that he is celebrating mass there for her as well. He told me that he first met Peggy when her son Patsy was in prison just a few days before he died. He described Peggy as a very kind, sincere and good natured lady. A woman who loved her family and whose strong faith had sustained her through the darker days in her life.”
Mrs O’Hara’s remains were flanked by a 50 man colour party who escorted her to her final resting place in the city cemetery via Bishop Street and the Brandywell. Earlier in the week, shots were fired over her coffin.