Hundreds at funeral of former firefighter

Eugene McNally
Eugene McNally

‘A family man who put the needs of others first’ was how a priest at the funeral of former Lurgan firefighter Eugene McNally described the popular Laurencetown man.

Hundreds attended Requiem Mass for Mr McNally, who died in an accident near Newry last week.

Fr Gerald Powell described the former Watch Commander as a ‘loving husband, father and grandfather’. The 56-year-old had recently retired after more than 30 years as a firefighter. He had served in Lurgan, Belfast and Newry.

“In his final years he achieved a long time dream and he built his own home, pouring hours of his own labour and love into its completion, a testament to the labour and love he poured into every aspect of his life,” Fr Powell told the congregation at St Colman’s Church, Laurencetown on Saturday. “We must follow the lead that Eugene left us, a living example of the concept of faith, we must keep working at it, we must not give up, no matter how difficult, now is the time for Eugene to rest and for us to work.”

Eugene was born on June 23, 1959 in Liverpool. He was married to his childhood sweetheart Christine and had three children Linzi, Laura and Paul. He attended Tannaghmore Primary School and St Paul’s HS in Lurgan.

“Tragedy, unfortunately befell Eugene and his family at a young age with the passing of their father Patrick in 1979.

“As typical of his character Eugene did not allow the pain and hurt of his loss to overshadow his life, but rather it added to his determination to do better. Eugene was not a deeply religious man, however, he truly taught his children and grandchildren the meaning of faith by the way in which he chose to live his life. Family was his centre.

“He put the needs of his family before those of his own. If called upon, no matter the hour or the emergency, he came, he helped, he was there. When he became your friend he became your family and, if you needed him, no matter the hour, no matter the emergency he was there.

“He was unselfish also with his passion for cycling, participating in numerous charity cycles over the years to raise funds for others in the community. He was particularly happy to be able to raise funds for the Southern Area Hospice who helped care for his mother in the weeks before her death in 2012.”

He recently took part in an event to raise funds for another Lurgan firefighter Larry Ward, who died earlier this year.

He is mourned by his wife Christine and children Linzi (Magee), Laura (Spiers) and Paul, brothers Stephen, Adrian, Kieran and Michael, sisters Maria and Aileen, grandchildren and family circle.