Carndonagh says farewell to Kathleen and Jimmy Cuddihy

The remains of the late Jimmy Cuddihy and his wife Kathleen are carried from their Churchtown home to the Church of the Sacred Heart, Carndonagh this morning. DER4414MC012 (Photo: Jim McCafferty)
The remains of the late Jimmy Cuddihy and his wife Kathleen are carried from their Churchtown home to the Church of the Sacred Heart, Carndonagh this morning. DER4414MC012 (Photo: Jim McCafferty)

The daughter of Carndonagh couple Kathleen and Jimmy Cuddihy has spoken at their funeral to urge people to “pick up the phone and talk” to mental health services.

Carndonagh’s Church of the Sacred Heart was overflowing with mourners, who had come to say farewell this morning (Tuesday) to the popular husband and wife, who were tragically found dead in their home on Thursday morning.

Their son Julian (42) has been charged in relation to their murder.

The couple’s daughter, Maureen, addressed mourners in a poignant eulogy, during which she “sincerely” thanked the community, their family, friends and State services for their help over the past few days.

“You just lifted us up and carried us for the last five days when we really needed it most,” she said.

She also spoke directly to “those people right now, who know or suspect they have a loved one suffering from untreated mental health issues.”

She said: “Please be their helper by picking up the phone to the absolutely amazing health services here in Inishowen today. Don’t wait to pick up the phone and talk. They are ready, willing and very able to do whatever is necessary to help any family. We don’t want any other family to be like us.”

She also paid an emotional and heartfelt tribute to her parents, telling the congregation that the name Cuddihy means “helper” in Irish.

She said her parents, both in their 70s, “lived up to that name.”

She told how, when they teamed up on a project, “by God, they were a force to be reckoned with.”

Maureen said both her parents, a retired nurse and former teacher, stressed the importance of education and her father was a “great help” to her brothers “in all of their works.”

She drew laughter from those gathered as she told how her mother helped with food supplies and bags of turf and even tried to put them in their bags when they were travelling by plane to London.

Maureen also paid tribute to her parents’ fundraising and community work, telling how her mother set up a heart charity in response to a lack of services and in gratitude to the “saving” of the lives of her daughter Delilah and also of Jimmy, who both had heart problems.

Maureen added that while the family had a “cross to bear” and were on their “knees,” they would, as a family, “pull together as we were reared to do” and “reimagine and rebuild” their lives.

She said the family hoped the community in Carndonagh could do the same, telling them: “Our parents would be most grateful for what you’ve done for us. Us Cuddihys are very proud to be one of you.”

A large number of priests concelebrated the Requiem Mass with Bishop Donal McKeown, Bishop Francis Lagan and Carndonagh Parish Priest Fr. Con McLaughlin.

Prayers were said for the couple’s daughters, Maureen and Delilah and sons James and Julian, the extended families and the community across Inishowen.

Fr McLaughlin said the Carndonagh community had been “reduced to silence as they try to come to terms with what has happened to two very well-known, highly respected, shining examples of their chosen professions.”

Bishop McKeown pointed out how people hear about terrible events every day in the media, but most “pass us by.”

“But when something tragic happens in our own community then it can really shake us,” he said.

He added: “The deaths of Kathleen and Jimmy Cuddihy have caused tears, fear and anxiety in this parish and far beyond it. We gather round the Cuddihy family in their terrible pain and loss.”

Bishop McKeown said that while Carndonagh has faced difficult times in the past, it will once again stand together as a community.

He said: “You will continue to be with the family over the next weeks and months. You will support one another in the midst of fears and anxieties.”

Bishop McKeown added: “This is where a parish community that prays is at its best – refusing to be broken or to pretend that nothing has happened, helping one another to find peace with the past and to build hope for the future.”