Family's heartbreak as Eoin laid to rest
'Peaceful and loving' student is buried after shock attack
CONFUSION, anxiety and fear have gripped the community following the death of a "peaceful, loving and beautiful young man", mourners heard yesterday.
Parish priest Fr Harry Brady told the hundreds who gathered at the small church in Ballyea village, just outside Ennis in Co Clare, that everyone was lost for words following the death of Eoin Ryan.
The popular 21-year-old student failed to return home after travelling to Ennis town centre to socialise last Monday evening. His body was found by gardai in a barrel in a field at Cappabeg, Barefield, in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Eoin had completed the final year of his degree course at the University of Limerick and was due to graduate in August. He had already been accepted by Queen's University in Belfast as a masters student.
Every seat was taken 40 minutes before the funeral got under way and large numbers listened to the ceremony being relayed via a public address system in the church grounds.
Fr Brady said that everyone had come to Eoin's funeral mass with broken hearts, but none were more broken than those of his family.
"Eoin's death was a shock to his family, friends and the entire community. Our world has been turned upside down, leaving us confused, frightened, distressed and anxious," he said.
"We have all come to share the grief of what has happened. We are lost for words and we pray silently from our hearts," Fr Brady said.
He told the congregation that Eoin had been a successful student, had spent a year in Paris and had later worked in Brussels with the then-MEP Alan Kelly. He had been looking forward to -- and dreaming of -- a bright future.
His father Don, brother Daniel and some of Eoin's close friends had earlier carried his coffin into the church, followed by his mother, Phil, clutching a treasured photograph, and his sister Lisa.
Also in attendance were Eoin's uncle-in-law, Cllr Christy Curtin, who is Mayor of Clare, and junior minister Alan Kelly. Chief Superintendent John Kerin and Superintendent Peter Duff, who led the investigation into Eoin's killing, also attended.
Two young female friends of Eoin held hands as they delivered a poignant, unaccompanied version of the Sarah McLachlan song 'In the Arms of the Angels'.
At the end of the mass, Daniel Ryan, on behalf of Eoin's family, thanked all who had helped them cope. He particularly thanked the gardai for their professionalism and empathy.
He explained, to laughter, that he was making his remarks brief, because nothing would annoy Eoin more than his brother being the centre of attention.
He told the packed church that Eoin would remain a shining light in the hearts of his family forever and asked that they would remember him as the peaceful, loving and beautiful young man that he was.
"We love you, Eoin," he concluded. Burial took place immediately afterwards in the adjoining church grounds.
Joe Heffernan, the man accused of Eoin Ryan's murder, has been remanded in custody for two weeks.