Moving tribute to a murdered father and son

MANY people were moved to tears yesterday, on hearing a touching family tribute to a father and son who were murdered a week yesterday.

Shane Hanrahan, 27, recalled happy times spent with his father, Michael “Mike”, 60, and twin brother, Denis, who both died in a shotgun attack at their home near Moyvane, Co Kerry.

At the end of the funeral mass in the Church of the Assumption, Moyvane, Shane said the family had suffered an awful tragedy and an incomprehensible loss, but he wanted to share many happy memories with the huge congregation.

He spoke of days at home together, of working on the farm and the bog, gardening, going to mass, sitting down for dinner together, going shopping in Listowel and of the best memories of all — being on the beach in Ballybunion. Shane, a civil servant in Limerick, said his father’s greatest wish was to visit the Holy Land, because he was unable to go there with his late wife Ann, who died 12 years ago from cancer, on their honeymoon in 1979. “My father spoke recently of his lifetime ambition to go to the Holy Land. My father and I planned to go there next Christmas,” he said.

He said the last time the family members — himself and Denis, and sisters Kayrena, Marion and Aine — were together was on Easter Monday.

“My last birthday with Denis was on July 27 last on the farm. My father spoke of his memory of bringing our late mother, Ann, to hospital to give birth to us. That was the last birthday we shared together.”

He said his father was concerned about the farm and the locality. He was involved in getting things done like new footpaths and street lighting and water schemes.

Speaking affectionately about his brother, Denis, a plasterer, Shane described him as someone that always put other people — colleagues, neighbours and friends — first.

An estimated 1,500 people formed the congregation, with many unable to get into the church. About 30 priests, including Bishop of Kerry Bill Murphy were in the sanctuary for the concelebrated mass. Gifts brought to the altar included a trowel, a camcorder, a newspaper and the Munster rugby flag, symbolising the lives of the two deceased men. Chief concelebrant was a relative of the family, Fr Sean Horgan, who recalled officiating at Mike and Ann’s marriage 29 years ago and celebrating Ann’s requiem mass in Moyvane church about 12 years ago.

He spoke of the revulsion everyone felt over the violent, reprehensible deed that ended the lives of Mike and Denis.

But, he emphasised that the Hanrahan family had the compassion, prayers and goodwill of everybody as they made their journey “through this valley of darkness”.

He said while society was concerned about the quality of life, it should also be concerned about the sacredness of life.

“The sacredness of Mike’s human life and Denis’s human life has been violated to the point of death,” he said. The father and son were laid to rest side by side in Murhur cemetery, about a mile outside Moyvane, in the same grave as Ann Hanrahan.

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