Family of murdered pensioner 'beg' for information at funeral
'Few are feeling festive, as they try to come to grips with the knowledge the killer, willing to take the life of an elderly widow on her own, still remains at large'
The family of murdered Limerick pensioner Rosie Hanrahan has "begged" for information which will lead to her killer’s arrest.
The 78-year old was laid to rest this afternoon, eight days after her body was discovered in her home at New Road, Thomondgate.
In their first direct appeal for information, the family, represented by Rosie’s niece, Avril, said: “The gardai have told us how amazingly helpful and forthcoming people have been, however they need more information. So, to anyone who may know something that might help — no matter how small — we beg ye to please come forward.”
Speaking from the altar at St Munchin’s Church, she also told the hundreds of mourners gathered there how the family’s "heartbreak" has "unified us all in the determination that those responsible for her senseless death will be brought to justice."
She described Rosie as "a positive person who lived life to the full".
"She was a person who always saw a silver lining even on the greyest day."
Ending her poignant tribute, she turned to her aunt’s coffin, and cried: "We will miss you always Rosie, and, we will always have you in our hearts."
Fr Donal McNamara, PP, St Munchin's, said Rosie’s life was ended "brutally", as she was "relaxing in her home, preparing for Christmas".
Her death, Fr McNamara said, was "unfair, cruel, and mind boggling.”"
He said no words would "soften the blow or ease the pain" for Rosie’s family and friends, and that, the nature of the pensioner's death had "shocked" the entire city.
"A trail of destruction has been left behind, for family, neighbours, and indeed the entire city, which has left a shadow hanging over it again."
Fr McNamara, who knew Rosie well, described her as "a gift" to anyone who met her.
She was "a fun loving, helpful, generous lady", he added.
Visibly upset, Fr McNamara continued: "What a way for a family to begin the celebration of Christmas”".
Rosie was due to spend Christmas Day in her home with her sister Helen. Rosie was to cook them both a festive dinner, Helen stated last week.
Helen, and her other sister Evelyn - who discovered Rosie's body - draped her oak coffin before Rosie's nieces and nephews left symbols of her long life by the church altar.
They left rosary beads and a prayer book representing her Catholic faith; a hat and necklace showed Rosie’s love of fashion; a Bingo book represented her love of social interaction, especially Bingo night every Tuesday; an Opera CD was a symbol of her love of music; and a wrapped gift, represented Rosie’s "profoundly generous nature and kindness".
Fr McNamara said Rosie was actively preparing for Christmas when she was murdered.
"She had many things to do, places to go. Her home was all ready for Christmas; her gifts wrapped and packed, because she loved giving," he said.
In re-echoing the family’s appeal for information, Fr McNamara added: "There are obviously people who know something and can possibly assist the police in their investigation, if so, in the name of God, come forward and ease the pain and anxiety of Rosie’s family and the neighbourhood."
Visibly shaken by Rosie’s death, Fr McNamara said: "For many this brutal killing is a stark reminder of the dark days that Limerick thought it had left behind."
He described, how, in Rosie’s neighbourhood, located on the city’s north side, "few are feeling festive, as they try to come to grips with the knowledge the killer, willing to take the life of an elderly widow on her own, still remains at large."
Among the many floral tributes at both the church, and also left outside Rosie’s home, one stood out. A colourful bouquet signed, "from all at St John’s Bingo", was a gentle reminder of how much-loved Rosie was to so many.
As the funeral cortège left outside St Munchin’s Church, the city fell silent, traffic paused, and in a collective mark of respect, motorists and mourners, and those just passing by, stopped and blessed themselves.
As Rosie’s remains were brought slowly to her final resting place, alongside her late husband Michael, the cortège paused briefly outside her terraced home, where her bright active life of 78 years was so suddenly snuffed out.
In a final tribute, Rosie's neighbours are to gather by her home around 6.30pm this Saturday, for a special prayer service.
Tears will flow, memories of the generous widow will be shared, and hope will continue in hearts that gardai will catch the killer.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Henry Street Garda Station on 061-212400, or Mayorstone Garda Station on 061-456980, or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666-111.