Memorials for Craig Harford on the Ballybin Lane bridge, near where he was killed.
Mourners gathered at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Ashbourne on the morning of Thursday 28th June to pay their respects to local student Craig Harford, who passed away following a road accident the previous Sunday.
At only 15 years-old, Craig had just finished his Junior Certificate exams at Ashbourne Community School where he was a very popular member of the school community. He lived in Brindley Park Green in Ashbourne and will be sadly missed by his parents, Des and Melanie, and siblings, Billy, Jamie, Sarah and Sophie.
His death was a devastating blow not only to his family but to his relatives and many friends, many of whom gathered on the Ballybin Road bridge that crosses the M2 motorway where the incident took place. Flowers and tributes on the bridge pay respect to the popular young man.
A Facebook page, 'RIP Craig Harford' has 4,967 'likes' and is full of poems, tributes, photos and notices from family and friends. One note reads that Craig's mother had asked that, instead of the traditional black, friends wear colourful clothing to the funeral to reflect the tragically young age of the victim. Students were also asked to bring any items, such as photos, to the church and tributes are still pouring in with special mention of his love for music and talent as a musician.
During the funeral Mass, Fr Derek Darby spoke of Craig's contagious energy and the importance of music in his life. He pointed to the significant place Craig's many friends had in his life, highlighting the power of true friendship and the steadfast support people should give to one another.
He also spoke about always considering the seriousness of one's actions, saying "even in the midst of their tragic loss, Craig's family courageously turn to other families, and especially the younger members of our community here today. They do not wish for any family to go through what they have endured over these last days. Every action has its consequences. They urge everyone to stop and think! Please do not to put yourself in immediate danger without first thinking of the consequences for yourself or for others."
On Sunday 24th June, Craig was struck by a vehicle travelling southbound in the slow lane of the M2 near the underpass at Ballybin Lane. The circumstances of the incident are still under garda investigation.
The collision involved just one vehicle, driven by a lady on her way to work. There were no other occupants in the car. The driver was taken to hospital and treated for shock.
The car is thought to have braked and swerved to the right but was unable to avoid impact. Craig's injuries were so severe that he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Inspector Oliver Keegan of Ashbourne Garda Station stressed that there is no need for pedestrians to enter the motorway and parents are encouraged to ensure their children are aware of this.