A large crowd turned out in heavy rain in Daniel’s home suburb of Finglas to attend the brief ceremony for the popular 17-year-old. More than 400 mourners packed into the Church of the Annunciation in Finglas West to hear Fr Peter McVerry describe how Daniel’s life had been “very prematurely destroyed”.
“We should not be here. Daniel’s death was an unnecessary, tragic end to his life,” said the priest.
Fr McVerry said the lives of those who had murdered the teenager were also destroyed and they would have to live with their conscience and face the law. “Their innocent families will also be devastated by what has happened,” he added.
The priest said he wondered if God had taken Daniel to spare him any further suffering as his life “had not been a happy one”.
But he told mourners, many of whom wore symbolic yellow ribbons, that although Daniel was dead, he would always live on in people’s happy memories of him.
Fr McVerry said his family would also derive great strength by knowing the respect and affection in which Daniel was held by so many people. He also thanked the large number of friends who had helped search for the teenager when he was reported missing last February.
Yesterday’s ceremony followed a private wake held over the weekend by the McAnaspie family who had to wait three weeks for Daniel’s body to be returned to them as it underwent forensic tests in the hope of obtaining clues to help catch his killer.
Last evening Daniel’s coffin arrived outside the church in a horse-drawn carriage before it was carried by members of his family into the church.
Daniel, who was in the care of the Health Service Executive at the time of his murder, went missing on February 26 last after travelling from his home in Finglas with friends to the Whitestown area of Blanchardstown.
His body was found dumped in a ditch near Rathfeigh, Co Meath, on May 13. A postmortem revealed he had been repeatedly stabbed.
Gardaí investigating Daniel’s murder have arrested a number of people, including the chief suspect for the crime, although they were subsequently released without charge.
The teenager’s death has also placed the HSE under intense scrutiny over the high number of children who have died while under its care.
Daniel will be buried at Glasnevin Cemetery today following his Requiem Mass at 11.15am.
Large numbers of Daniel’s friends also paid tribute to him on internet websites yesterday, although some were angered by postings on another website which carried rumours over the motive for his death.