Dad gets standing ovation after making heartbreaking plea at funeral for son, 14, who died in crash
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A grief stricken-dad received a standing ovation after speaking at the funeral for his 14-year-old son.
Heartbroken Joe Joyce pleaded with his son’s friends to ‘think of their parents’ during the emotional funeral, after young Lukas lost his life in a car crash on Easter Monday (9 April).
The speech has resonated with bereaved parents across Ireland after it was made at St Brendan’s Church, Annaghdown earlier this week.
Lukas was among four schoolchildren injured in the early morning crash, which happened just out of Headford.
It was Joe who was the first to receive the shocking call from police, confirming his son had passed. He had to inform his wife Neringa.
“The hardest phone call I ever had to make,” he admitted during the funeral.
After the sudden loss of the Presentation College Pupils, the community railed around their families with hundreds of people gathering outside St Brendan’s in support.
During the funeral, Joe gave a moving speech about his young son to a packed congregation.
As they intently listened for half an hour, the mourners heard about the father and son’s deep bond and how the loss of his only child has affected the family.
“He was like a little brother to me,” the grief-stricken dad told listeners, adding: “He was with me on the farm or in the workshop or beside me in the van ever since he was three or four.”
He then pointedly told the youngster’s friends: “You are not able to drive a car, don’t think you are. Think of your parents. Parents work all week to provide for ye.”
Pausing, he then said: “They go to bed at night, do you want them to wake up to see if the car is outside the backdoor? Or see ye gone with it?”
The speech continued: “What has happened is unreal. What’s going on I don’t know, but I have heard a lot this week, but if I’d known earlier I would have put a stop to it.
"I saw parents and they walked around Lukas’ coffin and looked in at him and they were probably saying that could be my son.”
Almost begging the teens to heed his words, the man gave a heartbreaking plea: “All I’m asking you, young people, it is not a joke, it is really serious. You might think it is good for Snapchat or whatever you are doing it for.”
He then concluded, by saying: “I’ve heard the stories this week. It’s not fair on your parents. I’m not a parent anymore, Neringa is not a parent anymore. That’s all I have to say … stop it.”
Shortly after this, Joe received a standing ovation from the congregation, who are still in shock and mourning the loss of such young teens.