A Garda investigation is continuing into breaches of Covid-19 regulations at a funeral in Roscommon Town in recent weeks. A video emerged on social media in recent days showing a large number of people gathered in St. Coman’s Cemetery, Roscommon for the funeral.
Members of the Travelling community have now come in for considerable criticism after the video footage emerged in recent days of the funeral, which took place in Roscommon Town on November 6th.
A large crowd is seen to be following the funeral cortege as it makes it was to the deceased’s place of rest. A number of mourners are seen to be taking turns to carry the coffin of the deceased.
The video footage, which is four minutes and twelve seconds in duration, shows none of the mourners wearing a mask or observing social distancing. A number of mourners are also clearly seen to be shaking hands with each other, in clear contravention of the Covid-19 regulations.
It’s not known how many people actually attended the burial, but footage suggests a crowd numbering a few hundred were in attendance.
There was a strong Garda presence at the funeral, which, the Roscommon Herald reported on the day passed off without incident.
On the day there were significant traffic delays in Roscommon Town as a result of the funeral. While declining to comment on what action would be taken as a result of the funeral being in contravention of Covid-19 regulations, Gardai said the matter “was under investigation”.
Under current level 5 Covid-19 regulations, attendance at funerals is a maximum of 25 people with mask-wearing and social distancing being observed at all times.
The video footage of the funeral shows a coffin being carried through the grounds of St. Coman’s Cemetery by a succession of pallbearers who are not wearing masks or observing social distancing.
The video also features significant audio with considerable commentary and comments as the remains are being carried through the cemetery. One mourner is heard to comment “we got our day” while another comments, “look at that for a crowd, that’s what we want”, can also clearly be heard.
Another voice on the footage can be heard commenting “she (the deceased) got her big crowd” while another comment “we respect her wishes today boys” is followed by another “we (mourners) weren’t expecting this today – the graveyard is packed.”
Michael Collins of the Pavee Point Travellers Centre said that as a Traveller, he understood the importance of funerals to Traveller culture, identity and history. However, he said Travellers needed to be aware of the ongoing global pandemic.
“We don’t want to see people getting sick or people dying. Our advice is to people whether they be Travellers or members of the settled community is to please observe the public health guidelines from NPHET and the Government – that is the only way the disease is going to be suppressed.
“It is quite clear the Level 5 guidelines were breached (in Roscommon). It’s not right and it’s not acceptable. I’m advising my own people to be a lot more responsible – it’s about saving lives. But I refuse to be lectured by any members of the settled community on this issue.
“Travellers don’t have a monopoly on this as regards breaching the guidelines,’ said Mr Collins, citing Government Ministers and others have breached the guidelines, adding: “We all need to play our part in solidarity with each other. No-one is safe until we are all safe,” said Mr Collins.