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Mickey Harte: 'The times we had with Michaela were always special... no one can take them from you'

Mickey Harte has spoken emotionally about the death of his daughter Michaela, saying receiving th...
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

21.16 20 Oct 2021


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Mickey Harte: 'The times we ha...

Mickey Harte: 'The times we had with Michaela were always special... no one can take them from you'

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

21.16 20 Oct 2021


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Mickey Harte has spoken emotionally about the death of his daughter Michaela, saying receiving the news of her death "was shocking in the extreme".

However, he believes "no can take" away the time he and his daughter spent together.

The legendary GAA coach and his wife Marian had four children, including their daughter Michaela.

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In 2011, 27-year-old Michaela was murdered while on honeymoon with her husband John McAreavey in Mauritius. Ten years on, nobody has been convicted in relation to the murder.

Mickey has written about the loss in his new memoir, Devotion.

He told The Pat Kenny Show about the shock of receiving the news of his daughter's death.

Mickey Harte: 'The times we had with Michaela were always special... no one can take them from you'

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He said: “You never would imagine you were going to have to listen to a phone call like that or hear that kind of news, even though we know that happens - virtually every day someone gets that sort of traumatic and tragic news. You never think it’s going to happen to you.

“We just had the greatest day of our lives at her wedding a short time before. To think she wasn’t going to be coming home again to see us… it was shocking in the extreme.”

He praised John McAreavey as "such a strong man", noting he "cannot even begin to comprehend how he dealt with where he found himself".

He said: “I’m so grateful to John’s family and Mark, our son, who took it upon themselves to get out there as fast as possible - to give that support to John, and do whatever was necessary to get Michaela’s body home.

“[John is] so determined to continue to keep the case alive - he’s driving that more than anyone, and I’m so grateful for what he has done.

“His life has moved on, and I’m delighted it has. He has a wonderful new wife and a wee baby son - I’m so happy for them. He’s such a really good young man, that he’s putting his heart and soul into trying to get the justice he feels and we all feel Michaela deserves.”

Trial

A year after Michaela's death, two Mauritian men were acquitted of her murder following a nearly two-month-long trial that made headlines around the world.

John McAreavey has sharply criticised the trial process, describing it as a "kangaroo court”, while the government of Mauritius earlier this year agreed to reconsider the murder case.

Mickey says that the trial in 2012 was a "terrible, torrid time" for the family members who travelled out to attend.

He said: “The result was another knockdown to us - after all that time, we felt at least there would be some kind of conclusion and some degree of justice.

"But it didn’t happen - that was a big setback at that time.”

Despite those traumatic experiences, Mickey says writing his book allowed him to revisit the happy times he spent with Michaela.

He said: "You have to maybe grieve for some time and think about this for some time.

“You lose something very special, but every day you live and enjoy something about this god-given life… I think we should really treasure that.

"I’ve been given the grace to treasure the times we had with Michaela - they were special, always special, and no one can take them from you."

He also believes Michaela's presence is very much still with him.

He told Pat: “If you love somebody so much… the Gospel tells us nothing can separate us from the love of God. I hope she is with God now, and therefore there’s nothing that can separate us from each other either.

“We’d love to have her physically present, but that’s not the case. But I still believe her presence is with me, around me. If you live with someone for 27 years and love them all that time, the love doesn’t go away - it just takes on a different form.

"I feel blessed I can look at it that way… I didn’t always do that when it happened, but through time and through the grace of God, I’ve come to believe it’s possible to have a strong connection with someone, even after they’ve died.”

Main image: File photo of Mickey Harte and his daughter Michaela. Picture by: Handout/PA Archive/PA Images

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