THE FUNERAL of one of the two Irish victims of the New Zealand earthquake will take place today.
Owen McKenna, whose remains arrived back in Ireland on Sunday, will be buried in his native Monaghan.
The 41 year old was crushed to death in the February 22 quake while sitting in his car moments after speaking to wife Sarah to tell her he was shopping for a meal he had been due to cook later that evening.
At the time, she was visiting relatives with the couple’s two children, Grace, six, and Tadhg, five.
He had moved to Christchurch to live shortly after marrying Sarah about six years ago.
His mother Theresa and brothers Ciaran and Brendan had travelled to the city more than a week ago to repatriate his body.
It was his ‘express wish’ that he was to be waked and buried in his native Monaghan.
Large crowds in the close- knit Truagh parish visited the family home throughout Sunday evening and Monday to express their sympathies to Eoin’s family.
He will be buried after a 12 noon requiem mass today at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Carrickroe Emyvale, near his family home house at Bracagh.
A marquee has been erected in the church car park for mourners unable to fit into the church, where loud speakers will be erected over the front door.
The service -which will be co-celebrated by a number of priests – will also be streamed live on the internet.
Neither his wife nor his two children will be coming over for the service.
Parish priest Fr Sean Nolan said last night: ‘It was considered that it would be far too traumatic for the two young children.
‘They will all be coming over later but when things are calmer.’
It is not known when Kerry accountant John JJ O’Connor will be buried.
His body was found in the Pyne Gould Corporation building where he had been working in his first-floor offices when the 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch.
The news was broken to devastated family, who had mounted a vigil outside the building which had been badly damaged in the February 22 quake.
It is not known if the 40-year-old father-of-one from Abbeydorney will be brought home for a burial.
Mr O’Connor moved to New Zealand late last year after a long stint working in London.
As well as having a two-year-old son, wife Sarah is pregnant with the couple’s second child.
The two Irishmen are among the 166 fatalities officially registered but there are still a further 122 missing people.
The dead include Julie Wong, who had been living in Lisburn in Northern Ireland before she emigrated to New Zealand five years ago.
She had been living there with her husband David and four-year old son Ethan.
Mrs Wong, who was in her mid 30s, had been working in Pyne Gould Corporation building when the quake struck.
In a statement released through the Presbyterian Church, Julie’s father and mother, Robin and Eunice Johnston, paid tribute to her on Saturday.
“In her short life she was a joy and inspiration not just to her family and friends but to everyone who knew her.
“We are so sad that her life has been cut short along with so many others in this tragic way but find strength in our Christian faith that was such a part of Julie’s life too. We know that everything is in God’s hands.”
The couple also encouraged people “to pray for all those linked by this awful earthquake that they would know comfort and healing at this difficult time”.
Her funeral will also be held today, but in New Zealand.