Michael Dwyer laid to rest

A young Irishman shot dead by Bolivian police over an alleged plot to assassinate the country's president was a good-natured, loving son and brother, his Funeral Mass heard today.

A young Irishman shot dead by Bolivian police following an alleged plot to assassinate the country's president was a good-natured, loving son and brother, his funeral Mass heard today.

Hundreds of mourners packed out a small rural church in the lakeside village of Terryglass, Co Tipperary, to bid a final farewell to Michael Dwyer.

The 24-year-old, gunned down with two other men by security forces during a raid on a Santa Cruz hotel, was a caring personality from a quiet, hard-working family, said parish priest Father Michael Cooney.

"I think the Michael I know is the one described best by his own family - a fun-loving, good-natured, generous person, always thinking of others," he said.

Within hours of Mr Dwyer's death on April 16, Bolivian authorities claimed he was part of an elaborate right-wing assassination plot against Evo Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous president.

He died along with Eduardo Rozsa Flores, a Bolivian of Hungarian descent who held Croatian citizenship, and Arpad Magyarosi, a Romanian who held Hungarian citizenship.

The Dwyer family have flatly rejected allegations that their son was involved in a murder conspiracy.

Fr Cooney said the young graduate would be remembered in his native village on the banks of Lough Derg as someone devoted to his family, parents Martin and Caroline, sisters Aisling, 25, and Ciara, 21, and brother Emmett, 14.

He had bought Christmas presents last November as he knew he would be away from home for the festive season and had arranged for his younger brother and grandmother to be together on their shared birthday so he could wish them well.

"Michael was the loving son who remembered Mother's Day just a few weeks ago in March, just a few weeks before his tragic and untimely death," Fr Cooney said.

Evoking William Wordsworth in his poem Tintern Abbey, he said Mr Dwyer would be best known for his "little nameless unremembered acts of love and kindness".

He also commended the heartbroken family for their dignity over the last number of weeks.

"You have helped us over these last two weeks with your quiet courage, your patience and restraint in the face of the awful, awful cross that has shattered your lives last Friday week," he said.

Childhood friend Ronan Fox paid a moving and humorous tribute to his long-time pal's love of cars, adventure and fun.

"Family and friends were the most important things to Mike," he said.

"But cars and women were his passions, and when Mike figured how to compare the two... well, that's another story."

Mr Fox said he was stunned and could not believe the news when he heard about his friend's violent death.

"Mike was too young, but the more I think about it the more I realise that Mike lived his life to the full."

The red and white jersey of Shannon Rovers GAA (Gaelic games) club, for which he played hurling at under-age level, was laid at the altar in remembrance, along with a hurley bearing his name, a family portrait and a photo of his beloved car, a black Toyota Levin.

A certificate of his construction management degree from the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology was also presented.

In a moving tribute, his youngest sister, Ciara, recited the funeral verse 'I'm Free', while Emmett chose to play Coldplay's 'Fix You' in memory of his brother, before he was laid to rest in a private ceremony in the adjoining cemetery.

Mr Dwyer's parents have backed calls from Foreign Minister Micheal Martin for an international panel to investigate the death.

Mr Martin said he had spoken with the Bolivian government to stress the need for an inquiry which would have the confidence of everybody, including Mr Dwyer's family.

President Morales has rejected the demands.

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