THE Canon who presided over Sean Reid’s funeral has pleaded with the government to upgrade the A5 before other lives are needlessly claimed by the notorious stretch of road.
Canon Patrick Marron told mourners that Mr Reid’s death was a damning indictment of the decade-long legal wrangling which has stymied the proposed upgrade of the A5 to a dual carriageway.
Described during the homily as one of life’s gentlemen, Mr Reid (69) was laid to rest at St Lawrence’s Church on Saturday afternoon in his native Fintona. His life was tragically cut short when he was struck by a vehicle on the Great Northern Road last Tuesday morning, while a married couple in their seventies also died in a collision on the nearby Doogary Road less than 24 hours prior.
“Sean’s tragic death could perhaps provide the necessary stimulus in ending the continual delays in proceedings with the dual carriageway project,” said Marron.
“There have been 35 recorded deaths within the last 12 years, and still those in authority are doing nothing to ameliorate that problem.
“There’s an onus on everyone of us to ensure that we drive as carefully as we can but there is a grave, grave responsibility on government to make high-risk roads safer in order to reduce any high death tolls.”
A native of Corryglass, Fintona, Mr Reid had worked as a labourer in Belfast and Birmingham before moving to Omagh, where he was an integral part of the local community for many years.
Forced into retirement by ill-health, he spent the twilight of his life in Shilling Court, a neat little housing estate on the outskirts of his beloved Fintona.
Anyone in attendance at Saturday’s funeral service couldn’t fail to have been moved by the portrayal of a solitary yet affable man, who was extremely close to his 14 siblings.
“There is such a great bond between Sean’s family that it has to be seen to be believed. All of them are here today, coming from far away places like Australia and New York.
“Sean was always present when there was any gathering of the family and he always looked forward to it. I’m told that he would regularly contact every member of the family even though it was costly to do so.”
While it’s obviously been a heart-breaking week for his family and friends, the poignant homily was interspersed with some lighter moments which reflected on the daily routines which made up Mr Reid’s life.
“Sean was a creature of habit and had a daily routine. Most mornings he was on the bus from Fintona to Omagh. Generally in the afternoon he enjoyed being around Fintona.
“In recent years, he used to spend a lot of time in the Credit Union. He was in and out of it so often that I thought he owned it!
“He was the epitome of the old adage that manners maketh the man. He had respect for everyone, and that elicited respect in return. I say this without reservation, he was nature’s gentleman.”