Funeral of Irish victims of Tunisia shooting underway
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Funeral of Irish victims of Tunisia shooting underway

THE funeral of two of the victims of the Tunisia shooting is underway in Ireland.

Laurence (Larry) and Martina Hayes, from Athlone in Co. Westmeath lost their lives in the attack last Friday (June 26) in Sousse, Tunisia.

The couple, who were in their 50s, had been on their third trip to Tunisia – a country they loved to visit on their annual holiday.

They leave behind their only child, 30-year-old Sinéad.

Father Liam Devine, who is leading the service at the Church of S.S. Peter & Paul's, spoke of how the local community is “shocked, stunned and devastated” at the popular couple’s death.

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“It is almost impossible to come to terms with,” he told the mourners.

The pair had just recently moved house, to West Lodge estate in Athlone town centre. They had been living near Moydrum, on the outskirts of the town, for many years.

“Larry and Martina Hayes were soulmates,” Fr Devine said in his homily. “They went everywhere together. They shared a common interest in gardening.  They were very proud of their strawberries and flowers.”

Larry worked as an inspector with Bus Éireann, on the company’s school buses. A popular local figure, he had been a plasterer by trade but had been working with Bus Éireann for 20 years.

Martina was a housewife, having previously worked for Burgess of Athlone, one of the town’s best known shops. The packed church heard how proud she was of her home and her role as a housewife.

“Martina’s home was her castle,” Fr Devine said. “She was a brilliant housekeeper. You would be hard pressed to find a speck of dust in the house.”

“Efforts to find fingerprints in the house proved futile, such was the pristine state of everything.

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After the funeral mass, the couple will be laid to rest side by side in Coosan cemetery.

“Together in life, together in death,” Fr Devine said. “They will be together forever. May they both rest in peace.”

Meanwhile, Lorna Carty from Co. Meath who was also killed in the shooting will be buried in her home village of Robinstown tomorrow morning.