The deaths of twin boys and their older brother in an apparent murder-suicide should be a lesson for people to do more to get young men to talk about their problems, their funeral has heard.
In heart-rending scenes after the mass at Holy Cross Church, Charleville, Co Cork, white coffins holding the bodies of nine-year-old Thomas and Patrick O’Driscoll were carried shoulder high through the town.
As the remains of their elder brother Jonathan were kept in the church, the funeral cortege was led by about 30 youngsters walking behind a pick-up truck carrying huge and ornately decorated floral tributes.
They were followed by a pony pulling a miniature canvas-covered caravan decorated with pictures of the twins.
The boys’ parents, Helen and Thomas, had travelled to Waterford last Thursday - the day of their deaths – to buy the wagon as a present for them.
On top of a black hearse sat a second set of beautifully decorated wreaths, including a replica of the old-style traveller caravan, two crossed blue and white hurleys and a horseshoe.
Black and red boxing gloves rested on the boys’ coffins during the service.
In a moving homily Fr Tom Naughton, curate at Holy Cross, said explanations for the boys’ deaths will not be answered “this side of the grave”.
“But if these days have taught us anything at all, they challenge us to continue and to increase our efforts to understand and to assist, especially young males, to communicate the darkness that seems to be increasingly troubling young minds and hearts,” the local priest said.