Northern Ireland news

Priest at Pat Ward funeral calls for cooperation with PSNI and Gardai

Pat Ward and his wife Ellie
Gerry McLaughlin

A priest at the funeral of murder victim Pat Ward has called for full co-operation with the PSNI and Gardai.

Fr Pat Lombard told mourners at the funeral of Pat 'Big Bang' Ward in St Anne's Church, Sligo yesterday that violence is never the answer.

"At this time of immense tragedy and sorrow we pray for the healing of peace after the events of Clogher and we commend the PSNI," Fr Lombard said.

"The police service north and south of the border do wonderful work and deserve our full support and I urge anyone with information concerning Pat's tragic death to contact them."

And Fr Lombard added: "Violence is never the answer to our problems, in reality it only makes a bad situation worse. There are never any winners and not only the families of the victims suffer but those responsible and their families too have to carry a great heartache of pain and regret."

He told Mr Ward's parents, Tom and Brigie, that this “terrible tragedy had struck at your door again after your other son Tom was killed in 2007."

"No words can adequately express what you are going through."

"From the womb to the tomb our lives are precious, our dignity as individuals can never be measured by the house we live in, by the car we drive or the job we have. Our true value as human beings comes from just being who we are."

Mr Ward was laid at the altar in an aluminium casket in the green and gold colours of his country, on an altar bedecked with massive bouquets that reflected his love of boxing, Manchester Utd and his local soccer team Abbey Utd.

His relatives were dressed in white tops with the words RIP Pat emblazoned on the back.

He was taken from the church back to his original home in Joe McDonnell Drive, Cranmore, near the spot where his brother Tom was murdered in 2007.

His relatives took the coffin from the hearse and held it high above their heads to loud applause, before he was taken to be buried in the family plot in Ballymote, where a horse drawn carriage awaited to bring him on his final journey.

He is survived by his wife Ellie, children Tommy, Leona, Chamara and Pat Jnr and by his parents Tom and Brigie and brothers and sisters.

Mr Ward was found dead in an alleyway at McCrea Park in the Clogher, Co Tyrone on February 9.

Niall Cox (23) and Karen Marie McDonald (33), both of McCrea Park, Clogher, have been charged with murder.

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