Mourners gathered to “make sense of the senseless” at Diarmuid and Tadg O’Sullivan funerals today.
But chief celebrant Fr Toby Bluitt said those gathered for the joint funeral at Saint Mary’s Church, near Kanturk, north Co Cork, were not there to “minimise the loss of their lives by trying to provide easy answers”.
The Parish Priest of Kanturk, Lismire and Castlemagner said this was important because “there are no answers”.
Of the deaths of the 59-year-old mechanic and his youngest son, he said: “We know this was not a ‘wake up call’, nor did it happen so that we can learn something.”
And Fr Bluitt, who co-celebrated the service with Father John Magner, urged people not to let the tragedy of their deaths stop them leading fulfilling lives of their own.
“Today, we come in our grief, our pain, our anger, and our confusion,” he said.
“Do we choose to allow the heartbreaking turbulence of tragedy to hold us captive, to rob us of our destination, to cloud the glimmer of light that will guide us on our way?
“Or do we choose to walk out from the shadows and actions of darkness, to take small steps towards our destination and toward the light and brightness of a new day.”
And he said people should realise that there is a way through all their difficulties in life.
“There are no situations that we cannot get out of,” he said. “We are not condemned to sink into quicksand.”
In his welcome to mourners, Fr Bluitt said: “Grief is never an easy burden to bear – and never more so when it comes to us in what can only be described as an untimely, shocking and tragic way.
“We gather in such grief today – carrying a burden that not only seems to be, but in fact is, overwhelming.
“We gather to comfort and support each other in our common loss. We gather to make sense of the senseless.
“We join with Bishop Crean in offering our deepest sympathies to Anne and to the relatives of and to the extended O’ Sullivan family."
Anne O'Sullivan was among mourners at the funeral.
He said the service’s Gospel from Luke which depicted the Passion of Christ speaks of a darkness coming over the whole world.
“Indeed it seemed like that same darkness, the darkest hour of creation - enveloped the O’Sullivan family and the local community here in Castlemagner over the past number of days,” he said.
“The normally tranquil local area blanketed at this time of year with a myriad of colourful Autumn leaves became a hive of activity and the Autumn light was, for a time, a very distant memory.
“The shock, the numbness, the devastation, was impossible to imagine and the unfolding news of the loss of three lives was incomprehensible.
“Just like all of you, I too am struggling to make sense of this life-changing tragedy.”
He spoke briefly of Tadg O’ Sullivan’s work in the motor trade for over 40 years.
And he told mourners that from his own encounters with him, he always found him to be “very accommodating, friendly and happy in his chosen field”.
He mentioned that Diarmuid had attended school in Ballyhass and Kanturk like his older brother Mark and also socialised in Castlemagner.
He said he went on to study Accountancy at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and that he had finished his studies last June and was due to have his conferring online next week.
“One would imagine that life was full of possibilities for him,” he said.
“One could also say that both Tadg and Diarmuid touched many people’s lives along the way as they journeyed through life.
“Their lives and deaths have changed you all and you will never be the same again.
“So today, gathered together in our grief, we do not minimise the loss of their lives by trying to provide easy answers. Because there are no answers.”
They are due to be buried afterward at St Brigid's Cemetery, Castlemagner.
The funeral of Mark O'Sullivan, who is understood to have been shot dead in his bedroom by his father and brother, will be held tomorrow and live-streamed at 3.30pm from the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Kanturk.