Cobh in tribute to ‘sincere gentleman’

A large group of family and friends paid tribute to a “kind, sincere gentleman”, Christopher ‘Jackie’ Barry, as he was laid to rest in Cobh, Co Cork, yesterday.

Cobh in tribute to ‘sincere gentleman’

The 53-year-old died from a single stab wound after being attacked as he came back to his apartment building in Edmonton, London, just before Christmas.

Speaking to mourners at St Colman’s Cathedral in Cobh yesterday, the chief celebrant Fr Peter O’Farrell said it was with a “heavy burden of sorrow” that people were coming together to celebrate the life of a man who always thought of others before thinking of himself.

“He was in the prime of his life. He had so much to do and so much to give other people. He brought a smile to those who knew him but now that smile has been taken from them. The happy memories of Jackie will again bring that smile back to them.

“We say goodbye today to a kind, sincere, gentleman. A hard-working man who put others before himself.”

Fr O’Farrell said Mr Barry had been denied the chance to live his life to its natural end as it had been taken away from him prematurely.

Several items close to Mr Barry’s heart were brought to the altar as gifts symbolising his passions in life.

These included a dog collar, representing his love of hunting and dogs, and a spanner indicating his great skill as a tradesman. Also brought to the altar were Mr Barry’s fishing rod and his set of darts — he was twice darts champion of north London.

Mr Barry’s goddaughter Jane described him as a man who could turn his hand to anything.

“The name Jackie was an apt name for him. He was a jack-of-all-trades but, contrary to the rule, he was a master of many. He was a plumber by trade.

“On one particular visit a few years ago, I had moved in to a new home and Jackie being Jackie of course offered to do some work. He noticed that one of the floorboards in the hall was short. Eventually the shoddy workmanship annoyed him so much that he pulled up half the floorboards in the hall and laid them perfectly,” she said.

Mr Barry’s murder outside his home in London just before Christmas shocked his home town.

The 53-year-old builder was attacked as he came back to his apartment building in Edmonton in the north of the city with his partner, Sabrina.

A group of youths, who had been trying to get into a party in another apartment in the building, had gathered outside its entrance when the couple arrived.

Words were exchanged and Mr Barry was then stabbed in the back as the couple made their way through the gang.

Mr Barry managed to get upstairs to the couple’s flat. Sabrina called the police and the ambulance service. However, he was pronounced dead at the scene by an ambulance crew some 30 minutes later.

Speaking at the time of the murder, his uncle Noel Barry described his nephew as a typical Irish man who had worked hard after moving to England in the 1980s.

“He was typical Irish. He worked hard and he never lost his Irish accent. He was a plumber but he became a jack-of-all-trades really. He done everything really, tiling, carpentry work, block work, plastering, everything,” he said.

Three 14-year-olds and one 13-year-old were arrested on suspicion of murder and bailed to return to an east London police station on a date in late January, pending further enquiries.

Mr Barry is survived by his mother Martina, partner Sabrina, brothers PJ, Mike, John, and Batt, uncle Noel and his wife Ann. He was laid to rest in St Colman’s Cemetery in Cobh.

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