Murdered advertising executive laid to rest

Murdered advertising executive Celine Cawley was laid to rest today as mourners paid tribute to a woman of flair who acted with panache and style.

Murdered advertising executive Celine Cawley was laid to rest today as mourners paid tribute to a woman of flair who acted with panache and style.

As her husband Eamonn Lillis prepared to spend Christmas in custody charged over her brutal death, hundreds of mourners packed the Church of the Assumption in Howth for her funeral.

Family friend Fr Ciaran O’Carroll said Ms Cawley’s death was an incredibly painful, distressing and heartbreaking experience.

Later her brother-in-law Andrew Coonan branded the killing appalling.

“The death of someone so bright, so full of life and love and promise, makes us somehow look at life in a different way,” Fr O’Carroll said in his homily.

“Celine was a do-er, with a flair and an ability to get things done with panache and style.”

A mother of one, Ms Cawley, 46, was found with serious head injuries in the patio of her Howth home on Monday of last week.

She had been beaten about the head with a brick and died later in hospital.

Large crowds gathered outside the church, perched on Howth hill overlooking Dublin Bay.

Among the mourners were members of the Haughey family, including Junior Minister Sean Haughey.

As Ms Cawley’s coffin was carried inside, Sutton Park School choir performed a rendition of Take That’s ’Rule the World’, while hundreds of mourners packed the pews and lined the side aisles.

“The loss of someone who is so loved, the death of someone to whom we feel so close, and to whom we owe so much, is indeed an incredibly painful, distressing and heartbreaking experience,” Fr O’Carroll said.

Fr O’Carroll described Ms Cawley as an honest and loyal woman who had a dramatic and passionate nature.

“We cherish the memory of someone who was incredibly young, kind, thoughtful and considerate,” Fr O’Carroll said.

During the offertory, as the gifts were being brought to the altar, Sutton Park choir sang the Christmas hymn O Holy Night.

Later in the service Ms Cawley’s brother-in-law Andrew Coonan extended the family’s thanks to all those who have offered support and described the days since her shocking murder a very difficult week.

“The loss of Celine was appalling to us,” Mr Coonan said.

“It is in the time ahead, the months ahead, the years ahead, that we will need your support more so.”

Ms Cawley, one of the country’s top advertising executives with Toytown Films which she set up and built herself, shared her exclusive Howth home with her husband, a television producer, and their daughter Georgia.

She became well known in media and advertising circles in Ireland after setting up the company in 1990.

She built up the company to become one of the country’s highest-profile production houses.

Toytown has worked with a variety of advertising agencies and had clients such as Diageo, Coca-Cola, Heineken, the National Lottery, O2 and Carlsberg.

Meanwhile, her husband Eamonn Lillis was remanded in custody at Cloverhill District Court until January 6.

The 51-year-old, who was charged on Sunday after only 24 hours questioning by murder squad detectives, appeared briefly in court for the hearing.

No application for bail was made and there were no objections to the remand.

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