Family, school friends and representatives from Ronan Hughes’ football club joined hundreds of mourners to say goodbye to the ‘sensible and delightful good lad’ who took his own life after being duped online.
Addressing grievers at St Patrick’s Church in Clonoe this morning, Father Benny Fee said: “Ronan Hughes dear people, did not take his own life - the life of Ronan was taken from him.”
Ronan passed away on Friday, just days after telling his parents and police about being tricked into posting photographs of himself on the internet.
His funeral mass was held in Clonoe at 11am today [Tuesday] and he was laid to rest in the parish graveyard afterwards.
Fellow pupils from St Joseph’s Donaghmore joined his Clonoe O’Rahillys team mates to form a guard of honour as Ronan’s remains were driven to the church by hearse.
In his homily to the well respected, well thought of and popular young man, Parish Priest Fr Fee told mourners: “Somewhere in the big world today - perhaps very far from Clonoe - is a man or a woman or a gang who are guilty of a terrible crime.
“While I wish that faceless man or woman no ill, that man or woman... lured this child into a web and took his life.
Likening the attack on Ronan to the Spider and Fly fable, he added: “Ronan was a victim of the abuse of the world wide web and social media, criminal people who lured Ronan into their sticky parlour of greed and evil.”
He also commended the young man’s parents Gerard and Teresa, saying “Ronan was blessed with the best parents a child could hope for,” as it was them he turned to in his time of need.
And he told the congregation he hoped those responsible, would be caught.
“I do pray with all my heart that they may be caught,” he added, “and they may be brought to justice for the agony they have brought to the Hughes family.
“Those faceless people were not down in the back field in Aughamullan last Friday - but they might as well have been there.
“They committed a heinous crime that has robbed the best of a father and the best of a mother - they robbed them of Ronan.”
“And if they could get to Ronan,” he explained, “they could get to anyone.”