Thursday 30 March 2017

Children of Irish woman who died in the Netherlands pay tribute to their 'amazing mum' at funeral today

Police at the scene of where the body of an Irishwoman was found
Police at the scene of where the body of an Irishwoman was found

David Raleigh

The children of a Limerick mother of eight, who died in suspicious circumstances in the Netherlands, have paid tribute to their "amazing" mum who loved them all unconditionally with her "healing hugs".

Martina O'Brien Viguurs, (64), a former nurse and air hostess, was found dead last Monday in her Dutch home, having sustained severe head injuries.

Her husband, Arnold 'Arno' Viguurs, has appeared before a court in the city of Den Bosch and is awaiting a decision by authorities on whether or not he will face charges in connection to her death.

Speaking at their mother's funeral mass in Rathkeale, Co Limerick, four of Ms O'Brien's devoted children spoke lovingly of "an incredibly special woman", who "is still an incredibly special soul".

Daughter Martina said: "I am so proud to bear her name. We even had our own song about our shared name that we used to sing together since I was tiny."

Fighting back tears, she added: "Each one of us eight kids had our own special things with mum that made us feel treasured and unique."

"We were all made to feel in her presence, that we were her very favourite, and she made us all feel fiercely loved," she said.

Hundreds of mourners, some of whom had travelled from America, the UK, and the Netherlands, thronged into St Mary's Church to pay their final respects.

Ms O'Brien's brother, John, said his caring and "glamorous" sister, "adored her children and was adored by her children and grandchildren alike."

"She showered them with love. She leaves a big void in our lives."

He said the past few days had been "enormously difficult" for the family.

Addressing the packed congregation, Mr O'Brien said: "I invite people to erase any image that might be in their minds from what they may have read in the press of recent days, and replace those images with the ones that you hold, of the Martina you knew - strong; powerful; loyal; courageous; loving."

Reverend William Russell, CC Rathkeale, said Ms O'Brien's death came as a "huge shock" to her loved ones.

Addressing mourners he said she "dedicated a life of love and service to her eight children and eleven grandchildren".

"Whatever I say here today will probably mean very very little consolation to your grieving hearts in these difficult times," he told her devastated children and siblings.

Rev Russell said Ms O'Brien's family had described her "as a gentle woman, who strove to heal the hurts of those who she met".

"And it came so naturally to her, calling on her skills as a nurse in her earlier years of her life," he said.

After reading emotional tributes to their mother, Ms O'Brien's children and siblings shoulder linked each other in a group hug as the congregation applauded in support.

Heartbroken family members later carried her coffin shoulder high from Rathkeale Church to the adjoining cemetery where Ms O'Brien was laid to her rest.

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