John ‘Danny’ McGee remembered fondly by friends and family
Hundreds turned out to pay their final respects to John ‘Danny’ McGee before he was laid to rest in Drumlish, Co Longford.
The 21-year-old, who was born in the US but grew up in Ireland, was killed in the early hours of Thanksgiving morning during a bar fight outside of the Sunnyside, Queens, New York bar The Gaslight.
McGee had been back in the US working for just over a year and a half, but relations said he was intent on returning to Ireland for good in the new year.
The Longford Leader reports that current members and his former teammates from Fr Manning Gaels escorted McGee’s funeral cortege into St Mary’s Church. They were joined by two guards of honor from Gaels Utd and Moyne Community School.
Speaking during the funeral mass, Father Ber Hogan said: “In truth, it doesn’t make sense, it shouldn’t make sense.”
“In a society where violence comes to easily we all need to stop and ask ourselves have we by our careless use of words, our outbursts of anger or indeed our uncritical attitude to violence contributed to such a society.”
“Have we been hardened by society or has society hardened us?”
“No day go by without hearing of some violent act, some tragic death, some family traumatized by a tragic and unnecessary death of a dear one. Have we become too desensitized by their frequency?”
However, Fr Ber Hogan also went on to say that the family of the accused killer 25-year-old Dublin native Steven O'Brien should be prayed for.
“We are also conscious today that there is another family dealing with this tragedy and their pain is valid too. In a tragedy like this, there is pain and heartbreak for all concerned,” he said.
McGee was looking forward to welcoming his parents and sister Eva to New York City before returning to Longford for the Christmas holidays.
“Sadly, his homecoming was not the one Danny looked forward to or planned for, nor is it the homecoming Don (father), Coleen, Brian and Eva ever foresaw,” said Fr Hogan.
“The nightmare that visited them on that afternoon of November 22 was a nightmare that every family fears when their loved ones are so far away.”
Speaking during the mass, younger sister Eva said her brother Danny “was very protective of me and always looked out for me.”
"Danny was funny, caring, loving and had a larger than life personality."Danny was always in great humor and wouldn’t have anyone with a frown on their face, he would always cheer them up."
Two of McGee’s best friends, Leon McKeon and Niall Heslin, also spoke during the service.
Heslin said after meeting with so many mourners over the past few days: “One person summed him up quite well when he said: ‘Danny had the mentality of a 21-year-old, but he had the wit of a 70-year-old. It didn’t matter what age of a person he spoke to, he was able to communicate on their level.”
“While I had the pleasure of calling you my best friend, you were also my soul mate, my brother.”
“I just want you to keep the craic going up there as much as you did down here for us Danny.”
“See you again brother.”
McGee was laid to rest at a local cemetery.