'Mairead you were loved so much, keep on smiling on us all' - Mairead Moran's mother pays tribute to tragic daughter
The mother of shop assistant Mairead Moran battled back tears as she told how her smiling, loyal, independent young daughter's life had been cut "too short".
In front of hundreds of heartbroken friends, neighbours and relatives, her parents Margo and Peter bravely held each other close as they stepped up on to the altar to paint a vibrant picture of their much-loved 26-year-old daughter.
"Mairead's greatest talent lay in making and keeping loyal friends – her circle ever expanding. We often teased her of her ability to summon a crowd at a moment's notice, these last few days she has surpassed herself," said her mother at their youngest child's funeral Mass.
The Moran homeplace in the small rural community of Kilmoganny, in south Kilkenny, has welcomed a stream of her devastated young friends, colleagues, old schoolmates and customers encountered in her beloved health shop job.
Her older sisters, Collette (34) and Michelle (31), have been left stricken by the loss of the vibrant young woman who was in the middle of being promoted to a managerial position she had coveted in the job she loved.
Mairead died from multiple stab wounds last Friday night, just 20 minutes before she was scheduled to close the tills at the Holland & Barrett health and nutrition outlet in the busy Market Cross Shopping Centre in the heart of Kilkenny city.
A psychiatric assessment has been ordered on Shane Smyth (27), from McGuinness House, Evan's Lane, Kilkenny city, who has been charged with Mairead's murder.
"We can never thank enough everyone for the support so freely given to prove that friendship, love, family and community are what make life worthwhile," said her mother.
"Mairead was happy, smiling, loyal, an independent woman, loving her job and building her future. As she said herself 'You know me mam, just getting on with my life'.
"We are so glad she did, it was too short," she said, as she struggled to keep her composure.
"Mairead you were loved so much, keep on smiling on us all," she said, her voice finally cracking under the strain. "We need it."
Her youth was evident everywhere in the church. From the beautiful smiling photograph of her standing in front of flowers placed on the coffin, to her throngs of friends, some in Spider-Man T-shirts, showing her love of superheroes.
Her mother recalled how the family had faced painstaking waits for the release of new Harry Potter books in the wee hours of the morning.
Fr Nicholas Flavin told those gathered in the church, and spilling out into the grounds and to an adjacent church across the road, that it wasn't in the "plans of any of us to be here today".
"But circumstances in life change our plans and change our lives for us, sometimes radically, and leave them different as we journey into the future," he said.