THE deaths of two young Dundalk people in a car crash on New Year's morning is a "nightmare that their families and friends will never wake up from", according to a local parish priest.
Speaking at the funeral mass of the late Susan Larrigan, Fr Jim O'Connell from the Church of the Holy Family in Muirhevnamor said there were no words to alleviate the pain caused by the tragedy.
Susan, aged 17, from Slieve Roe Crescent, Muirhevnamor died alongside her 22-year-old friend, Patrick Harper from St Ronan's Terrace in a single vehicle car crash on January 1 at around 4.30am.
An estimated 700 mourners paid their respects at Susan's funeral mass, which took place yesterday (Tuesday, January 4). Fr O'Connell was helped in the mass by Fr Brendan McKey-Morrissey, a chaplin in the army. Patrick is due to be buried this morning (Wednesday, January 5).
"There is nothing I can say at a time such as this. There are no words. Susan's parents, Mark and Valerie, will no doubt feel angry and resentful. They might ask: 'Why have you forsaken me God?'," said Fr O'Connell.
"They will experience the whole gambit of emotions, not just today, but perhaps forever. This is a nightmare; one we wish we could wake up from, but sadly we can't. It doesn't seem real but at the same time, there is a part of us that knows it has happened."
He added: "Often in these situations, people say 'It was God's will. But it wasn't God's will. He didn't want this to happen. I don't know why it happened. I have no explanation but God did not want this to happen, no more than he wanted Jesus to die.
Fr O'Connell described Susan as a typical teenage girl who cared about her appearance and was interested in fashion and make-up.
Susan's GHD hair straighteners was one of the gifts presented at the altar, along with her camera.
"She cared about how she looked and that was natural and proper for a girl her age. It was her dream to go on to become a hairdresser one day. She also loved music and enjoyed dancing," said Fr O'Connell.
"Over the past couple of days, one of the things a few people said to me about Susan was that she never held a grudge. That is a lovely thing to be able to say about someone."
Susan's remains were taken in a horse drawn carriage for burial to St Patrick's Cemetery. She is survived by her loving parents, Mark and Valerie; her brother, Ned; and her sister, Nicole.
She is also deeply missed by her grandparents, Frank and Sheila; and Ned and Margaret; extended family, and friends.
Gardai in Ardee are investigating the collision which occurred on the southbound lane of the M1 near Milltown (between junctions 15 and 16).
Both Patrick and Susan were pronounced dead at the scene after their car was involved in a collision with a fence. Anyone who may have witnessed the collision is asked to contact Ardee Garda Station on 041-6871130 or 1800-666-111.
l Susan Larrigan's funeral