THE community of St Mary’s Parish was united in grief on Monday morning as hundreds of people attended the funeral of pensioner Francis Allen, who died in a fire at his home last week.
The 72-year-old, who lived alone at St Munchin’s Street, St Mary’s Park died in the fire despite the best efforts of neighbours and members of the emergency services to rescue him from the burning building.
The scene of the fire was forensically examined last week and gardai at Henry Street, who are investigating the fire, have ruled out foul play.
It is understood a faulty heater in a downstairs room may have been the cause of the fire, which completely gutted the mid-terraced house.
Large crowds attended Monday’s funeral mass which took place at St Mary’s Church, Athlunkard Street.
In his homily, Canon Donough O’Malley said Francis Allen, who was better known as Frank, had a great passion for life.
“In the life that Frank lived here in this parish - from his youth to his passing from our midst so tragically last week, he was always focused on life. He was a quiet upright man, who lived a very private life but also a very useful life both at home and in his place of work and with his family and also with his God,” he said.
A number of floral tributes were placed next to the coffin throughout the funeral mass which was con-celebrated by St Mary’s Park native, Fr Noel Kirwan and Fr Con Cronin of the Kilteegan fathers, who is currently living in St Mary’s Parish.
Canon O’Malley told the large congregation that the manner in which Frank Allen died was upsetting to everyone who knew him.
“He lived a long and useful and happy life and unfortunately he died suddenly in a tragic fire at his home and that is a great source of worry and sorrow to his family, to his neighbours and to his friends - both here in the parish and further afield because he was a very gracious person who was highly respected and regarded,” he said.
Frank Allen, who was well known in Limerick, worked for the United Yeast Company, which supplied baking ingredients to the baking industry in Limerick and across Munster.
Following his retirement he developed a love of plants and trees and he event completed some studies in the area.
Local councillor and former Mayor of Limerick, Cllr John Gilligan, was amongst those who led the tributes to Frank Allen following his death.
“He was a decent person, a very good humoured person,” he said.
Following Monday’s funeral mass the coffin of Frank Allen was led from St Mary’s Church by piper Christopher Leo, who was a friend of the deceased man.
The remains of Frank Allen, who is survived by his sister Lucy and brother-in-law Liam will be cremated later this week.