Hundreds mourn tragic brothers remembered as 'great buddies'
HUNDREDS of mourners packed into a rural Sligo church to say a heartbreaking farewell to two brothers who were remembered as "great buddies".
The coffins of nine-year-old Brandon Skeffington and his 20-year-old brother Shane Michael were carried into St Attracta's Church in Tourlestrane, Co Sligo, in the bright sunshine as mourners held back tears.
Friends of the older brother formed a guard of honour while all wearing blue, Shane Michael's favourite colour.
The boys' parents Shane and Carmel and siblings Sharon (15) and three-year-old Callum were comforted by relatives and friends as they made their way into the church to say farewell to their sons and brothers.
A prayer read on behalf of the family during prayers of the faithful spoke of how the two boys would be forever together and never forgotten. One cousin broke down as she read a tribute to the boys, thanking Shane Michael for always looking after her, adding: "I know you will look after Brandon as you always did."
Local parish priest Fr John Glynn spoke of Shane Michael's love of cars, of music and of spending time with his younger brother.
He recalled nine-year-old Brandon as being "larger than life. A boy full of energy with a heart of gold."
He told how the third class student had been fond of reading 'The Simpsons' comics in the classroom, hiding them under schoolbooks away from the eyes of teachers.
Among the gifts brought to the altar to remember the two brothers was a football and a Transformers toy.
Fr Glynn told the congregation how the two brothers would often play football together and had bought the ball during one of their many trips in Shane Michael's car.
"They were great friends; they would head off sometimes and make journeys in the car," he added.
Fr Glynn told the congregation that while they were gathered in sadness there was also so much goodness which was evident in the community over the last few days.
"Our sympathies go out to the Skeffington family on the death of Shane Michael and Brandon. It might seem a very bare statement to make, but words are difficult for us all at this time," said Fr Glynn.
Speaking of the tragedy that befell the family on Sunday last, Fr Glynn added: "What happened? What happened is that Brandon and Shane Michael died. Shane and Carmel's family are all very sad. That's what happened and really we don't know much more. We might speculate and wonder and read reports of what people think might have happened. But in the end it comes down to what death is and what sadness is."
Asking what we might learn from the tragedy, he added: "Probably, as usual, very little."
Just five days ago the lives of the Skeffington family were left shattered after Shane and Carmel returned home to find their nine-year-old son Brandon lying on the landing at the top of the stairs with stab wounds. Moments later they discovered the body of their oldest son Shane in the shed behind the family home. A post-mortem revealed that Brandon died after being stabbed in the chest by his older brother Shane who then hanged himself .
Gardai believe that Shane, who had battled drug problems and spent some time in St Columba's psychiatric unit earlier this year, attacked Brandon after a row broke out between them over a video game.