Tragedy for family of Aideen Kennedy as death means parents have outlived all four of their children

Tributes were paid at the funeral of Irish TV journalist Aideen Kennedy – who was the last surviving sibling of four children, all of whom died before the age of 45 – in a tragic turn of events for her heartbroken parents.

Mother-of-two Ms Kennedy, 43, was best known from her time as a reporter with UTV, the ITV region covering Northern Ireland, but sadly died in hospital last week just hours after revealing on Twitter that she was receiving palliative care for a terminal illness.

Ms Kennedy, from Belfast, was the last surviving sibling of four children. She, her sister Fiona and brothers Rory and Dara have all now died before their parents, Maura and Noel.

The reporter’s older sister, Fiona, died from cancer in 2016 at the age of 44, less than a year after their brother Dara died from a brain tumour aged 35.

Their older brother Rory was killed in a road accident when he was just a year old.

Retired cleric Father Sean McCartney, who also presided at the funerals of Fiona and Dara, told the congregation for a Requiem Mass at the Good Shepherd Church in Belfast that he was not aware of another couple who had suffered so much loss.

‘I’ve officiated at three of Maura and Noel’s children, of Dara and Fiona and now Aideen – it’s very difficult for me but so much more difficult for Maura and Noel,’ he said.

‘And I’m just delighted to be of some comfort and some support to them at this very difficult time.

‘I know of no other couple who have suffered the loss of all of their children at any particular time.’

Tributes were paid at the funeral for Irish TV journalist and mother-of-two Aideen Kennedy (pictured), who died aged 43 last week, describing her as an ‘inspiration’ who lit up every room she entered. Mourners are pictured at the Good Shepherd Church in Belfast

The 43-year-old, who was best known from her time as a reporter with UTV, the ITV region covering Northern Ireland, died in hospital last week, hours after revealing on Twitter that she was receiving palliative care for a terminal illness

The 43-year-old, who was best known from her time as a reporter with UTV, the ITV region covering Northern Ireland, died in hospital last week, hours after revealing on Twitter that she was receiving palliative care for a terminal illness

Aideen, her sister Fiona and brothers Rory and Dara have all now died before their parents (her father Noel is pictured)

Aideen's mother Maura is pictured at the Good Shepherd Church in Belfast on Tuesday

Aideen, her sister Fiona and brothers Rory and Dara have all now died before their parents, Maura (right) and Noel (left), pictured at the Requiem Mass at the Good Shepherd Church in Belfast

Ms Kennedy, from Belfast, was the last surviving sibling of four children. Pictured is her casket at the Good Shepherd Church in Belfast on Tuesday

Ms Kennedy, from Belfast, was the last surviving sibling of four children. Pictured is her casket at the Good Shepherd Church in Belfast on Tuesday

During his homily, Fr McCartney referred to an interview Ms Kennedy gave to a Belfast newspaper several years ago.

In the article she described herself as someone who loved friends and family, who hated inequality and prejudice, and whose main regret in life was being unable to go back in time to say sorry to anyone she had hurt.

‘What an inspiration,’ said the cleric.

He added: ‘Her answer to those three questions just sums up the sort of person she was.

Retired cleric Father Sean McCartney, who also presided at the funerals of Aideen's (pictured as a reporter at UTV) siblings Fiona and Dara, told the congregation at the Good Shepherd Church in Belfast that he was not aware of another couple who had suffered so much loss

Retired cleric Father Sean McCartney, who also presided at the funerals of Aideen’s (pictured as a reporter at UTV) siblings Fiona and Dara, told the congregation at the Good Shepherd Church in Belfast that he was not aware of another couple who had suffered so much loss

The coffin of Aideen Kennedy leaves Good Shepherd Church in Belfast on Tuesday following a Reqiuem Mass

The coffin of Aideen Kennedy leaves Good Shepherd Church in Belfast on Tuesday following a Reqiuem Mass 

A photo of the journalist, with her children, Jacob and Eva, was placed at the front of the church, close to her wicker coffin

A photo of the journalist, with her children, Jacob and Eva, was placed at the front of the church, close to her wicker coffin

‘When Noel rang me on Friday to say that Aideen had died, to say the least I was shocked, I was without words.

‘I couldn’t believe that Maura and Noel… that they would suffer the death of their fourth [child], all their children.

‘Noel said to me “It’s God’s will”.

‘Well, I’m not happy about that phrase “It’s God’s will”. It’s used very often, but I struggle to know how it’s God’s will, how a mother of two young children in her early 40s… that that’s God’s will that she should be taken from us at this particular time.

Former SDLP MP Dr Joe Hendron is pictured for the Requiem Mass for Aideen Kennedy, who died age 43 last week of an unknown terminal illness

Former SDLP MP Dr Joe Hendron is pictured for the Requiem Mass for Aideen Kennedy, who died age 43 last week of an unknown terminal illness

Also in attendance of Aideen's service on Tuesday was Councillor Seamas de Faoite (right), Permanent Secretary of the Department of Justice, Northern Ireland Richard Pengelly and Emma Little-Pengelly

Also in attendance of Aideen’s service on Tuesday was Councillor Seamas de Faoite (right), Permanent Secretary of the Department of Justice, Northern Ireland Richard Pengelly and Emma Little-Pengelly

‘But it just shows you there are some questions that there are not really satisfactory answers to on this side of the grave.

‘I certainly struggle. I always struggle with the death of a young mother particularly, (but also) any parent.’

Fr McCartney spoke of the outpouring of ‘warm tributes’ to Ms Kennedy since her death, which characterised her as someone who ‘lit up every room she went into’.

He said he was particularly impressed by the words of her long-time friend, DUP MLA Emma Little Pengelly, who described her as ‘beautiful, funny and kind’.

British politician and former broadcaster, Michael Nesbitt, who was the Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party was also seen leaving the Good Shepherd Church in Belfast, as well as Jayne Brady, Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service (pictured)

British politician and former broadcaster, Michael Nesbitt, who was the Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party was also seen leaving the Good Shepherd Church in Belfast, as well as Jayne Brady, Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service (pictured)

Former UTV colleagues were among those who joined Ms Kennedy's friends and family at Tuesday morning's funeral to say a final farewell, including news presenter Paul Clarke (pictured)

Former UTV colleagues were among those who joined Ms Kennedy’s friends and family at Tuesday morning’s funeral to say a final farewell, including news presenter Paul Clarke (pictured)

Former UTV colleagues were among those who joined Ms Kennedy’s friends and family at Tuesday morning’s funeral to say a final farewell, including news presenter Paul Clarke.

Also in attendance of Aideen’s service on Tuesday was Councillor Seamas de Faoite, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Justice, Northern Ireland Richard Pengelly, Emma Little-Pengelly, and former SDLP MP Dr Joe Hendron.

British politician and former broadcaster, Michael Nesbitt, who was the Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party was also seen leaving the Good Shepherd Church in Belfast, as well as Jayne Brady, Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service. 

A photo of the journalist, with her children, Jacob and Eva, was placed at the front of the church, close to her wicker coffin.

Her passing comes after she asked fans to 'say prayers' for her in a Tuesday Twitter post, where she told her 16,600 followers she had been in hospital

 Her passing comes after she asked fans to ‘say prayers’ for her in a Tuesday Twitter post, where she told her 16,600 followers she had been in hospital

Irish TV presenter Aideen Kennedy, known for her career at UTV, has died aged 43 following a terminal illness

Irish TV presenter Aideen Kennedy, known for her career at UTV, has died aged 43 following a terminal illness 

Family: Alongside, Aideen shared selfies alongside her children Jacob And Eva

Aideen Kennedy, who died aged 43 last week, poses for a selfie alongside her children Jacob And Eva

Writing on Twitter on Friday about receiving palliative care, Ms Kennedy asked her followers to ‘keep an eye out’ for her children, whom she described as the ‘kindest, sweetest most thoughtful kiddies’.

At the weekend, Ms Kennedy’s former employer said the UTV family was ‘deeply saddened’ at the death of their friend.

‘A truly gifted reporter, she spent many years at UTV bringing viewers stories from all over Northern Ireland,’ the broadcaster said in a statement.

The journalist wrote on Twitter earlier in June: 'So life has not gone well and I am as sick as I was as when I went in to hospital so essentially going home to die but getting palliative care'

The journalist wrote on Twitter earlier in June: ‘So life has not gone well and I am as sick as I was as when I went in to hospital so essentially going home to die but getting palliative care’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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