Margaret McAlorum laid to rest beside murdered daughter Megan

The funeral of Margaret McAlorum leaves her home in west Belfast to St Oliver Plunkett in Lenadoon Picture Mal McCann  
The funeral of Margaret McAlorum leaves her home in west Belfast to St Oliver Plunkett in Lenadoon Picture Mal McCann  

MARGARET McAlorum had battled for more than three decades against the rare auto-immune condition which ultimately claimed her life, mourners at her funeral were told.

The 63-year-old, who came to public attention following the murder of her daughter Megan in 2004, died in the early hours of Tuesday while waiting for a liver transplant.

Requiem Mass was held at St Oliver Plunkett Church in west Belfast today, with hundreds of family and friends in attendance.

Fr Aidan Brankin said she had been diagnosed with PBC (Primary Biliary Cholangitis), which causes inflammation and scarring in the liver, 35 years ago.

"It really started to affect her this past 18 months and the last four months in particular have been so, so tough for Margaret and family," he said.

He paid tribute to the close knit clan who rallied around the mother-of-seven that had been so devoted to caring for them.

"The job she loved most was the one she never got any pay for, being mother and childminding to her grandchildren.

"The house had an open door policy, open to everyone (and was) always full which Margaret loved. She loved not just seeing her children and grandchildren happy, but seeing their friends too.

"She had a special gift to see both sides of every situation."

Mourners were told it was "so, so devastating" for Margaret and her husband Frankie when 16-year-old Megan was killed in an isolated area of west Belfast 13 years ago.

Fr Brankin spoke of the deep love that Mr McAlorum has for the woman he called "Duchess", who he had to wait two hours for on their first date and resist the urge to eat the Mars bar he had bought for her.

He said after the family were "really, really hurt" when they were "told nothing" when Megan's killer Thomas Purcell was transferred to an English jail to serve out his sentence.

"Margaret's campaign took off so that other families would never have to go through that same injustice," he said.

"Victims' family rights were to change forever and Margaret was the driving force - always thinking of others."

A scheme was set up to allow relatives to register to be informed of the release date or any transfer by convicted killers.

Mrs McAlorum is survived by her husband Frankie, and children Frankie, Richard, Lynne, Paula, Stephen, Kirsty.

After Requiem Mass she was buried alongside her daughter Megan in the City Cemetery.