A POPULAR Co Clare priest, who made headlines after saying there a place reserved in heaven for Donald Trump, has sadly passed away.
Father Joe Haugh served as a priest in the Diocese of Killaloe for 63 happy years.
A much-loved figure in the local community, Father Joe died on Saturday, April 4, aged 87, at Regina House nursing home in Kilrush.
Though strict health guidelines prevented any more than 10 close friends and relatives from attending his funeral this past Sunday, hundreds still turned out on the roadside across the parish of Doonbeg and Killard in West Clare to pay their respects.
It was a testament to his popularity in the local community with parishioners far and wide standing outside their homes, while maintaining the strict two metre distance from others, while the funeral cortege travelled the local area.
All told the hearse travelled some two hours around the local area, with people braving the wet and windy weather to say their goodbyes to Father Joe.
His remains were eventually received at the local church in Doonbeg, where he served with distinction as parish priest between 1995 and 2008.
Father Joe continued to minister in Doonbeg up until last year.
During that time, he met Donald Trump at the President’s Doonbeg hotel and golf resort.
With the resort providing much-needed jobs as well as a significant boost to local tourism, it’s fair to say Father Joe was a big fan of President Trump.
Speaking in an interview with The Clare Echo at the time, he recalled the conversation the pair enjoyed when they met.
“When we were leaving he said to me ‘get me to heaven’,” Father Joe said.
Asked if he thought Donald Trump would in fact “get to heaven”, Father Joe replied “I certainly do, he loves his neighbour, he’s done a lot for his neighbour”.