Great sadness in community as brothers are laid to rest

Gardai from the Garda Technical Bureae at the house in Banada, Co. Sligo where the bodies of Shane Skeffington aged 21 and his brother Brandon aged 9 were found. Pic: Keith Heneghan

People may wonder and speculate but nobody really knew what happened to the Skeffington brothers at their home last weekend, mourners were told at their funeral yesterday.

“What happened is that Brandon and Shane Michael died,” parish priest Fr John Glynn said.

“And Shane Michael and Brandon’s family are all very sad. That is what happened and really we do not know any more.”

He said the brothers were “buddies” who played football together and who went for spins in the car.

Yesterday at St Attracta’s church in Tourlestrane, Co Sligo — a parish proud of its GAA tradition — a football bought and played with by the boys was carried to the altar, along with a Transformer toy owned by Brandonn nine.

The community’s grief was palpable as the two coffins were carried into the church. Identical white wreaths decorated with a blue ribbon were placed on each coffin. A photograph of each boy rested on his coffin while, behind, was a family picture of the brothers together alongside a toy car and cuddly toy.

Their parents and four grandparents clung to each other for comfort. Their 15-year-old sister Sharon carried the baby of the family, Callum, three, in her arms.

Later, the choir played Nearer My God to Thee as the coffins were carried from the church.

Their mother Carmel was inconsolable as she carried the photograph of her two boys together. Outside, she stayed close to both hearses, stroking each coffin in turn. Her husband Shane hugged her tightly as their parents and extended family stood vigil with them.

Fr Glynn told the parents words were difficult for everyone. “It is hard to imagine how you feel,” he conceded. “It is not something any of us want to feel. Our hearts go out to you.”

The priest said he was conscious of the great sadness not just of family members, and neighbours, but of the boys’ friends, including the children in Brandon’s class. Many of them attended in school uniform.

Many people sobbed in the church as Fr Flynn described Brandon as a little boy who was full of life, whose “bright sparkling blue eyes and big smile” would see him through any scrapes.

The brothers were brought on one final journey together, a cortege involving hundreds of cars through the streets of Tubbercurry before they were laid to rest side by side in Rhue cemetery.


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