Major upset that Yevhen’s friends knew nothing of his funeral

February 14th, 2023 5:50 PM

Cllr Joe Carroll left flowers at the grave of Yevhen Mishchenko (inset) this week. (Main photo: Anne Minihane)

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THERE is major upset that the people of Skibbereen were not given the chance to attend the funeral of a Ukrainian man who died in the town on January 2nd.

Acquaintances of Yevhen Mishchenko, known as ‘Papa’ to many, have expressed their disappointment that they were not told about his funeral, which took place last Thursday.

Denny Collins, who runs the Paragon bar, restaurant and guesthouse, which is now home to 50 Ukrainian refugees, said he knew Yevhen very well. ‘He was here with us for three months and he had fallen in love with Skibbereen. 

‘You’d see him walking around the town and he told my wife Natasha, who speaks fluent Russian, that he loved being in Skibbereen.

‘He got on well with all the other Ukrainians staying here and he certainly was not a loner,’ he told The Southern Star.

‘We are all in shock that he was buried last week and not one of us was informed of the funeral. He sadly died on January 2nd and I was 100% convinced that his body was taken back to Ukraine in order to be buried or that he was still up in the morgue in Cork city. We got a complete shock last Friday to hear he was buried in St Patrick’s Cemetery the previous day without any of his friends present to say goodbye.’

‘We all knew him and everyone in the Paragon was friends with him. He was engaging and was mad about the World Cup too. How is it that no one including his roommate for three months was not contacted to inform them his funeral was taking place?’

Local Fianna Fáil councillor Joe Carroll also voiced his upset that Yevhen’s funeral took place with nobody being told. 

Locals would have wanted to show their final respects, he said. ‘This is not how the people of Skibbereen are,’ he added.

‘It was wrong what happened and how we were portrayed in this. The people in Skibbereen are very upset with what happened, and that Yevhen was buried alone,’ said Cllr Carroll.

‘Very few people knew about the man dying, but the people in the Paragon knew the man well, and they would have wanted to have been contacted, they should have been. They are the people he was living with and they would have certainly wanted to know about his funeral. It is not normal that nobody would have been at the funeral.’

Denny Collins confirmed that he and his wife, and many of the Ukrainians staying in the Paragon, intend to visit Yevhen’s grave this Friday and lay flowers and wreaths and say prayers at his graveside.

‘It will be 40 days since he  died and we are going to say goodbye to him properly. We will make sure everyone is aware of this event.’

The decision to bury Yevhen in St Patrick’s cemetery in Skibbereen was made by West Cork coroner Frank O’Connell while the Department of Social Protection paid for his burial.

Undertaker Charles O’Sullivan and his team bring the remains of Yevhen Mishchenko to his grave in Skibbereen, led by Fr John Heinhold. (Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision)

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