Words of Bishop Denis Brennan at the Funeral Mass of members of the Alexander family at Cushinstown, New Ross, Co Wexford

11 Dec 2017

The tragedy which unfolded here last Monday has touched and saddened the whole country.

The Irish Bishops were gathering in Maynooth for their Winter Meeting on Monday evening when word of the accident came through.

They were as shocked by it as everybody else and proffered their sympathy to all involved, a sympathy which I now pass on to the Alexander, Ryan and Keevey families.

An American writer, Thornton Wilder has written ‘there is a land of the dead and a land of the living… and the bridge is love.’

That bridge, the bridge of love between the Alexander, Ryan and Keevey families is strong and enduring … it has endured over the years and reached across the Atlantic.

The presence of four members of the Alexander family for Winnie’s funeral is testimony to that strong bond.

The three families have suffered an unbearable loss. Four people who loved you deeply have been taken from you in an instant.

You also mourn for Winnie and we remember her today as well.

But the bridge you built up over the years, the bridge of love remains.

Lily, Doug, Steven, and Doug Jnr have been taken from your sight, but they will never be taken from your hearts … all you were to each other in life remains in death.

We now pray in thanksgiving for the love that Lily, Doug, Steven and Doug Jnr had as family over the years, in the words of Scripture ‘a love stronger than death.’

We pray that they are at peace in the presence of the Him who said: ‘blessed are those who mourn, they shall be comforted.’

We pray also for Debbie and all the members of the Alexander, Ryan and Keevey families in Illinois, Limerick and here in Cushinstown, that they will, with the help of God, and the support of family and friends, be blessed with the strength they need at this most difficult of times.

The American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson has written ‘every sunset  brings the promise of a new dawn.’

It’s hard to see that now so we pray that over the weeks, months, and years ahead it will reveal itself to those who grieve today.


  • Bishop Denis Brennan is Bishop of Ferns.                             


For media contact: Father John Carroll, Diocesan Secretary, Bishop’s House, Summerhill, Wexford, Diocese of Ferns on [email protected] and on 00353 (0) 87 9898424; David Macken, Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth, on 00353 (1) 5053055.