Saturday 16 December 2017

Family mourns fourth tragic death in less than two years

Edel Kennedy

THEY'VE lost a brother, a nephew, a cousin and a brother-in-law. All in heartbreaking circumstances and all in less than two years.

Last night, the family of murder victim Paddy Mooney spoke of litany of recent tragedies including losing a family member in a car crash with an off-duty garda.

Paddy was shot twice in the head when gunmen burst into his home on Sunday night. His friend and intended target, Brendan Molyneaux, was shot once in the chest during the attack. Paddy's nephew, Leigh Mooney, died along with friend Owen Merriman when they drove their Fiat Punto down the wrong side of the N7 in Citywest in March 2008 and straight into a garda who had just finished his shift.

And in a cruel twist of fate, the same garda had been involved in a crash just three months previous which claimed the life of Leigh's cousin, Philip Hogarty.

Last night Paddy's distraught sister Margaret -- who has returned home from England for his funeral -- said they have been devastated by the litany of tragedies which has hit their family. Just before Christmas they also buried Paddy's brother-in-law, Eugene Bourke. Married to Paddy's sister Anne, he died after fighting a long battle with multiple sclerosis.

"It's been heartbreaking," she told the Irish Independent. "One thing after another.

"We can't understand why someone would do that to Paddy, to do that to another human being. They must have no heart. Paddy was a real happy go lucky man," she added.

"He used to joke and call himself Robocop because of his limp." Paddy, who was 58 when he was shot dead, had a severe limp after suffering a stroke in his 20s and was paralysed down one side.

Margaret added that the family were just coming to terms with the death of Anne's husband when the latest tragedy struck.

Another sibling, Mary, lives directly across the courtyard at Pearse House, Pearse Street, where Paddy was murdered. She is now considering moving out so that she doesn't have to see the scene of her brother's horrific death every day.


Margaret said the family have had "a lot of deal with" in the past number of years.

She said that Leigh's mother Caroline, is still trying to come to terms with the death of her 19-year-old son. Caroline is a second cousin of Philip's mother, Kay Byrne. At the time Ms Byrne said the tragic coincidence -- with the crashes coming just eight weeks apart -- had devastated their family.

An inquest into Philip's death last year returned a verdict of accidental death. The chess champion was fatally injured while crossing the road after getting off a night service bus, which had brought him home from a New Year's Eve night out with friends.

Paddy's body has not yet been released to his family.

Irish Independent

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