Clare-based online streaming service reports growing number of Irish funerals being streamed in the United States.
A County Clare-based business has reported a growing number of funerals being streamed online from the United States.
Alan Foudy, who started the company Funerals Live in 2013, said initially they would film one service per week now he is covering three or four.
Funerals are streamed for those who cannot attend due to illness or other circumstances however Foudy said Irish immigrants in America are among a growing number of mourners streaming the ceremonies online.
It is estimated that there are between 10,000 and 15,000 undocumented Irish living, without valid visas in North America. They cannot leave the United States, as they will not be granted reentry.
Foudy told the Sunday Times (subscription needed) “There are sons and daughters in America who wouldn’t have a green card. There is no way back.
“At one funeral recently, the priest really got involved and told the [congregation] to wave to the daughter at the camera to make her feel part of it. It’s very tough on the families. It’s fierce hard on them.”
The Clare businessman remembered one family in particular. The emigrant, who had been in the United States, since the 1990s, was unable to fly home for her father’s funeral.
Foudy said “She even had grandkids in America and she still couldn’t come home.
“The father and mother had gone out to her. Whatever chance they had before, there isn’t a hope of them coming now with Mr Trump involved.”
Foudy’s service is a very personal one. Only those provided with a password can view the ceremony. He even filmed the graveside mass after the church ceremony.
“Usually it is only four or five family members who watch it. When I started out a couple of years ago, people would be watching at the funeral but now people take no notice at all. It’s always respectful,” he said.
Foudy explained that people’s reasons for watching a streamed funeral from abroad are very varied and it’s not necessarily down to immigration issues.
“There can be other issues,” he added.
“One man who died had two daughters in different parts of the world who were both due to give birth, one was in Australia and one was in Dubai. It can be so many things. Or there are grandchildren in places like Australia who’ve gone away working or traveling.”
He continued “There are people in nursing homes who wouldn’t be able to go to the funerals of brother and sisters who have passed away,” Foudy said. “There are lot of different situations. There was another woman very ill in hospital whose mother had died.
“Simple things like the snow a few weeks ago would affect people coming home on planes.”
He added that there is a myriad of reasons that people might stream funerals from Ireland. Such as the many Irish missionary priests and nuns who spend much of their lives abroad and return home when they retired.
However, he did remark that he had seen an uptick in the number undocumented Irish in the United States using the facility.
Following on from St. Patrick’s Day and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Irish government’s special envoy for the undocumented, Co. Waterford TD John Deasy’s meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House, there could finally be some light at the end of the tunnel for the Irish documented.
Following their meeting it appeared that President Trump could be ready to for a reciprocal visa arrangement for Americans looking to live and work in Ireland.
Varadkar was the first to raise the issue of the Irish undocumented, and he expressed a willingness to negotiate a new deal which would offer legalization. Though a definite framework for such an agreement has yet to be finalized Deasy has made it a point to stress the concept of reciprocity during his many meetings with White House and Capitol Hill staffers.