THOUSANDS of people turned out to pay their respects yesterday at the funerals of a young businessman and a garda whose lives were cut tragically short.
At the funeral of Roy Collins, Bishop of Limerick Dr Donal Murray described his murder as “utter madness” which strikes at all of us.
The Irish Examiner has learned that Mr Collins was able to give vital information to an armed Garda unit before he died. The unit was escorting cash to Roxboro Shopping Centre at the time of the shooting and rushed to Mr Collins’ aid. Their description of the killer’s car was immediately flashed to all units in the city.
The 35-year-old Limerick man was shot dead in the family business last Thursday.
Addressing over 1,000 people who attended his funeral Mass at St John’s Cathedral, Bishop Murray said: “When death is the result of senseless violence it seems even more meaningless, and it strikes at all of us. We see the darkness and the pain which are inflicted by such acts. Not only do they destroy life, the life of the victim, they also diminish the humanity of those who carry out such acts.”
During the Mass, Ryan Lee, 23, a cousin of the dead man who was shot and badly wounded in one of the Collins’ family pubs in Limerick in December 2004, gave a reading.
Mr Collins’ 12-year-old daughter Shannon also read and could barely hold back her tears as she said: “Thank you God, for the blessing you bestowed on Daddy in his life.”
His younger daughter, Charlie, 8, and their mother, Sarah Sulliman, also attended. His fiancee, Melissa Crawford, who he was due to marry in June, was also in attendance.
Stephen Collins also paid an emotional tribute to his son and thanked people for all their support.
Meanwhile, in Swinford, Co Mayo, the garda who died after being crushed against a wall by a stolen car was buried in a state funeral. Thousands attended Garda Robert McCallion’s funeral Mass at the Church of Our Lady Help of Christians and his burial at Kilconduff Cemetery.
Two teenagers have been charged in relation to the 29-year-old’s death.
At his funeral service, his death was described as a great tragedy which had left his family and everybody in the town searching for answers.
Garda McCallion’s coffin was carried by his former colleagues from Donegal.
Almost 1,000 gardaí from all over the country took part in the funeral procession.
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