Armed garda vigil at victim's funeral
ARMED gardai were yesterday visibly keeping a vigil outside a church where the funeral took place of gangland murder victim John Paul Joyce.
The 30-year-old Traveller, whose frozen body was found in a ditch at the back of Dublin Airport last Saturday, was lured to his death and shot in the back of his head.
Gardai believe that a €30,000 contract had been placed on his life by a rival gang boss.
"The last 10 days or so must have been like hell for you as you tried to come to terms with John Paul's disappearance and then with his death," Fr Jim Lynch told mourners, who were packed into the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Ashbourne, Co Meath.
"He died in such horrific circumstances. I'm sure those days were filled with a mixture of shock, anger, regret maybe, and fear.
"But I'm sure what you felt most was a deep sadness that someone you loved so much had died in such terrible circumstances, and so soon after his brother Tommy died in the same way.
"Nobody here can imagine the depth of grief you feel."
Tommy Joyce (20) was shot dead last June near the brothers' home at Grove Lane, near Darndale in Dublin. He had been sitting with a friend outside the house when the shooting happened.
Yesterday, their sister Anne described how John Paul had "loved all of us in his own way, loved the gym, had a lovely build and a handsome face to match".
Joyce was the father of two children, Bonnie and John Joe. Yesterday's service began with the Dean Martin song 'Everybody Loves Somebody Sometimes'. Floral tributes reading 'Boss' and 'Brother' were laid in the church beforehand.
Fr Lynch said that a "darkness" had come into the family's life at the time of his murder.
"We pray for mercy for John Paul in the areas where he needed it," he added.