Hopes that some good might come out of the tragic death of a beloved man were expressed at his funeral yesterday.
Fr Tony Ryan addressed mourners at the funeral in Doon, Co Limerick, of John O’Donoghue, 62, who collapsed and died of a heart attack when he saw two men who had broken into his home.
Politicians were yesterday called on to revisit their policies on policing in rural Ireland amid growing fear and feeling of isolation. Addressing the congregation in St Patrick’s Chuch, Fr Ryan said many, particularly the elderly, were now living in fear throughout rural Ireland.
He described Mr O’Donoghue, who was a signalman, as a quiet inoffensive man whose excellence as a carpenter and wood craftsman was acknowledged not only in his own parish, but in the wider community.
Fr Tony Ryan
Fr Ryan said Mr O’Donoghue died in tragic circumstances but he noted: “You did not die in vain, because I feel there is a growing awareness of that need to look out and watch out for each other with care and concern. And perhaps our politicians will see to increasing a garda presence on the ground in rural Ireland again to reassure all who feel so alone and vulnerable.”
Fr Ryan said all who knew John O’Donoghue would have great memories of his gentle ways – his words of welcome and kindness.
“But essentially John O’Donoghue was a very quiet, gentle, inoffensive, unobtrusive person, who went about his work always in a workman-like responsible fashion” he said.
Fr Ryan said it all “ended so tragically” last Thursday. He said everybody was saddened and upset at John’s tragic and unexpected, sudden death. He added: “He did not deserve his life to end under these awful circumstances.”
He urged: “It is a reminder to all of us here in Doon and indeed throughout rural Ireland that we must be alert to the needs of our neighbour; we must take note of any suspicious activity, warn our people of any strange goings on, and of course to contact the gardaí. There are many people living in fear, who are on their own. We must reach out to them and keep in touch as best we can, for they feel so isolated and vulnerable.”
During the ceremony Mr O’Donoghue’s three nephews brought up symbols reflecting Mr O’Donoghue’s love of reading, and his talents as a carpenter and a wood craftsman.
John O’Donoghue’s removal
Fr Ryan said John would be shocked at all the headlines and media coverage following his death. He said: “But underneath, everybody’s story deserves to be listened to with respect, precisely because it’s their story.”
Mr O’Donoghue, aged 62, was returning to his house outside the village at around lunchtime on Thursday last with his sister Christina, a retired nurse, when they came on the burlgars.
Following a chase through fields two men were arrested and have been charged.
Michael Casey, aged 32, of Bay 9, Clonlong halting site, Southill, Limerick, and his cousin David Casey, aged 20, of Coolock, Dublin 17, have been remanded in custody.
They have been charged with stealing property including gold jewellery valued at €1,200 from Mr O’Donoghue’s house and that of a neighbour.
Meanwhile, Kieran O’Donnell TD said yesterday that the whole area of cash for gold outlets as avenues for getting rid of stolen goods is an area that needs to be tightened up and the way they operate.
He said a system of tracability of goods being traded in these shops needs to be put in place: “The minister for justice is currently looking at this and she will shortly be coming to consultation. At present it is impossible to trace jewellery with a view to try and recover goods that have been stolen.
“We need regulations to ensure these outlets cannot be used to dispose of stolen property. Once jewellery is traded in these premises, it is often too late to trace it as it may by smelted.”
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