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Funeral director tells of heartbreak as his dad (91) is buried alone after death from virus

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Covid-19 victim Michael Doyle Snr (91) alongside his son Michael Jnr, of Michael Doyle Funeral Directors in Finglas

Covid-19 victim Michael Doyle Snr (91) alongside his son Michael Jnr, of Michael Doyle Funeral Directors in Finglas

Covid-19 victim Michael Doyle Snr (91) alongside his son Michael Jnr, of Michael Doyle Funeral Directors in Finglas

A Dublin undertaker has spoken of the heartbreak at being unable to attend the funeral of his father who died of the coronavirus - an illness he believes he has also been hit with.

Michael Doyle, of Michael Doyle Funeral Directors in Finglas, lost his dad Michael Doyle (91) last week, just one day after doctors confirmed he had Covid-19.

At first it did not appear Mr Doyle Snr had the virus and the family were treating it as a chest infection, until he was admitted to Connolly Hospital.

However, his condition then deteriorated so swiftly that Michael Jnr didn't have the chance to say goodbye.

"The staff at Connolly Hospital were absolutely amazing," he told the Herald.

Piper

"They called me on the Thursday to see if I wanted to check in with him by video.

"Before I could even gather my thoughts, though, he was gone. He slipped away."

Michael Jnr paid for a piper to play a lament at Glasnevin Cemetery yesterday, but there was "no mass and no funeral as we're all in lockdown", with the family watching online instead.

"On Monday we had a virtual wake for him," he said.

He added that the family were adhering to social isolation guidelines and so did not organise a funeral, in solidarity with the heroes battling the virus on the front line.

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Michael Doyle Funeral Directors in Finglas

Michael Doyle Funeral Directors in Finglas

Michael Doyle Funeral Directors in Finglas

"My father wouldn't have wanted it," he said.

Michael Snr first began to feel "a bit odd" the weekend before last.

By Tuesday he was no longer able to communicate with the family or Michael Jnr, who acted as his carer following the death of his wife Agnes two years ago.

"I'm so proud of the role that I played caring for my father in the last two years and we became more like good friends."

A fifth-generation Dubliner, Michael Snr was originally from Townsend Street and had a total of 25 children and grandchildren.

Humble

Michael Jnr paid heartfelt tribute. "He was a very humble man. He was an artist and a musician. His favourite instrument that he liked to play was the harmonica," Mr Doyle said.

"We were always very entertained by that. He lived for his family."

Mr Doyle has begun working from home, talking to families planning funerals over the phone, since coming down with the symptoms of Covid-19.

He developed a cough suddenly on Saturday, but it seems to have subsided quickly.

"I had a pounding headache. I went to bed and I was sweating profusely. I slept for around 15 hours - I wouldn't sleep for 15 hours in three days," he said.

"Then I woke up at around 11.30am on Sunday, had a shower and I felt better.

"I'm sure it was the virus. I have never felt anything like that before."

Mr Doyle said he believed he probably picked up the virus from his father, though he is not sure where he was infected.

"We don't really know where it came from. I'd say my father probably had it before me."

Despite the heartbreak of losing his father to the virus, Mr Doyle is confident Ireland will emerge a stronger, more compassionate society in its wake.

"I'm devastated to lose my father. It is very sad, but it is going to be a lot of people's story.

"I am very proud of the way Irish people are dealing with this. We're so proud of the HSE.

"I honestly think we'll emerge from this as a better country, more caring."