Sunday 18 March 2018

Friends of killed researcher Tom O'Gorman gather for memorial service

A smiling photograph of Tom O'Gorman at A memorial prayer vigil in St Teresa's Church, Clarendon Street in Dublin 2 tonight. Tom O'Gorman was murdered in his home in Castleknock this week. Photo: Collins Photos.
A smiling photograph of Tom O'Gorman at A memorial prayer vigil in St Teresa's Church, Clarendon Street in Dublin 2 tonight. Tom O'Gorman was murdered in his home in Castleknock this week. Photo: Collins Photos.
Candles surround a photograph of Tom O'Gorman at a memorial prayer vigil in St Teresa's Church, Clarendon Street, Dublin 2 tonight. Pic: Collins Photos.

Friends and colleagues of killed researcher Tom O'Gorman have gathered to pray at a church he frequently used.

The vigil, organised with the support of the Iona Institute where the 34-year-old had been working for several years, was held at St Teresa's on Clarendon Street in the heart of Dublin city centre.

The hour-long service was arranged as friends and people who worked with Mr O'Gorman - during his time as a journalist with Catholic publication The Voice Today and latterly as a researcher - struggled to come to terms with his death.

The church was also completely full for the memorial vigil which took place in semi-darkness as dozens of candles flickered around the altar.

Funeral details have not yet been finalised.

Prayers were also offered for his brother Paul and sister Catherine and his extended family. The victim's friend Fr Stephen Kelly led the prayers.

Mr McCarroll, speaking from the altar, said Mr O'Gorman was “a people person par excellence.”

"Tom was always bumping into people everywhere. He would create life-long the heart of Tom's life was to do good," he said.

Mr O'Gorman was found dead at his home in Castleknock, Dublin, in the early hours of Sunday.

A lodger who had been living in the house, Saverio Bellante, aged 34 and originally from Palermo in Sicily, was yesterday remanded in custody charged with his murder.

It is understood the two men had been playing chess before the killing.

In a brief statement announcing the prayer vigil earlier today, the Iona Institute, a think-tank promoting Catholic values, said the circumstances of Mr O'Gorman's death defy description.

"We are all still processing and trying to absorb the death of Tom and the enormity of what happened to him," the group said.

Funeral arrangements have not been released.

The horrific way Tom O'Gorman met his death has made worldwide headlines -- but his friends are struggling to remember him as they knew him in life.

He was a "gentleman" and a "good guy," they said.

An incisive thinker who enjoyed a good argument -- but also loved a good joke.

He was a familiar figure on the pro-life, conservative Catholic stage and had written prolifically on a number of websites on a range of topical issues.

As friends tried to deal with the horrific nature of his death, many were angered at the media's reportage of the details of his death, considering it to be overly intrusive.

Sarah MacDonald of said the "horrifyingly violent" nature of his death had been "so contrary to our gentleman colleague and friend".

She said she was shocked because this young man with plenty of life ahead of him and plenty to offer the world had been snatched brutally.

The world of Catholic journalism feels an emptier place for his absence, she said.

Describing Tom as a man with a formidable brain and intellectual acuity, she said he was a gentleman and a great writer.


"A conversation with Tom could go anywhere -- he was always thinking and reading and some of us gained insights via the crumbs that fell from his intellectual table," Sarah said.

She spoke of her memories of the researcher and journalist, saying she had especially loved when a serious lecture was taking place hosted by the Iona Institute, and something humorous was said, Tom would throw back his head and laugh out loud.

And she revealed he had been particularly chivalrous towards women.

"If he got wind that someone was giving you a tough time -- particularly if it was a priest -- he'd be on the phone giving you a pep talk and showing solidarity," she said.

The editor of the Irish Catholic, Michael Kelly, paid tribute to Mr O'Gorman, who he called "a wonderful journalist".

Mr Kelly said: "Tom was a wonderful man, a wonderful character. I mean he was great company, a great mimic.

"He'd a wonderful sense of humour, very proud of his Catholic faith, very involved in his Catholic faith and similar causes.

"In terms of interests really, a renaissance man, a great interest in music, a great interest in films, in poetry, in literature, in politics. He was very easy company.

"He made friends very easily."

Mr Kelly said Mr O'Gorman's loss would principally be felt by his sister and brother, Catherine and Paul.

He added that the loss was also felt across the wider Catholic community.

The editor of Brandsma Review, Peadar Laighleis, also described Tom as a gentleman and a Christian.

He was a man who "offered much in the past and who had the potential to offer more in the future, were he not murdered in such a foul manner in his own home", Mr Laighleis said.

Meanwhile, the Pro Life Campaign held the memorial prayer vigil for Tom O’Gorman in Dublin tonight.

“The tragic death of our dear friend Tom O’Gorman over the weekend has come as a huge shock and a painful loss to everyone in the pro-life movement,” the group said

“Tom was a truly loyal supporter of the Pro Life Campaign, always ready to put his very considerable talents in research, analysis and writing at the service of the pro-life cause. His reliable, meticulous work, humbly done behind-the-scenes, helped so many good things happen.

“Everyone who met him came away with an enhanced sense of their own worth born from the experience of his interest in them as a human being.

“In this, Tom was something of a phenomenon. He was a ‘people person’ par excellence and a kind man who loved meeting people and getting to know them and share their lives.

“ As the news of his death has spread on TV and social media, the outpourings of sadness and memories of his goodness are reflections of the huge circle of people he knew whose lives he touched."

Press Association, Alan O'Keeffe, Nicola Anderson

Press Association

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