Sunday 21 January 2018

'If Michael's murder doesn't outrage us, what will?'

‘Family man’: Mourners attend Michael McCoy’s funeral in St Maelruain’s Anglican Church in Tallaght yesterday. Photo: Tony Gavin
‘Family man’: Mourners attend Michael McCoy’s funeral in St Maelruain’s Anglican Church in Tallaght yesterday. Photo: Tony Gavin

Alan Sherry

The family of a conservationist murdered in the Dublin Mountains asked "if this doesn't outrage us, what will?" at his funeral yesterday.

Hundreds of mourners, including Michael McCoy's wife Caitriona, packed the church and the grounds outside to pay their respects to Michael McCoy at his funeral Mass in St Maelruain's Anglican Church in Tallaght yesterday.

Mr McCoy was beaten to death while out walking his dogs in woods near his home in Ballinascorney, Brittas, Co Dublin, last Thursday week.

It is believed he suffered head injuries after being hit with a wooden implement which has yet to be found.

Gardai arrested a 41-year-old man in connection with the killing but later released him without charge.

They suspect Michael (64) may have been killed because he was a conservationist and had been involved in objecting to developments.

His brother-in-law Daniel Kelly said Michael's love for the environment ran deep and he saw the damage being done, but was "determined to do something about it".

He compared Michael to murdered Brazilian environmentalist Chico Mendes who fought to preserve the Amazon rainforest and Honduran environmentalist Lesbia Yaneth Urquia, who was murdered earlier this year.

"Those are faraway to us - lawless places - but it's the same planet. These are people who, like Mike, went against the grain - against fatalistic acceptance of low standards of crookedness and corruption.

"A former colleague of mine from across the water remarked once in a moment of exasperation that the Irish have no sense of outrage. Look at what's happened. If this doesn't outrage us what will? If this doesn't jolt our community and our country out of its stupor in relation to environmental issues especially, what will?"

He added that Michael was a wonderful family man who was extremely proud of his three daughters Rachel, Suzanne and Sarah. He also told how Michael built his own home and at the age of 59 enrolled in Trinity College.

He added that he loved an argument and never minded being in a minority of one.

"Michael will not be forgotten. We will remember him with great pride and much love," he said.

A nephew of Michael told the congregation his life was taken away all too soon. "It's hard to understand why tragic things like this happen to such kind good people. We'll never know what lesson we were supposed to learn from this."

He spoke of many memories the family had of Michael. "He was a family man and also a father and brother and friend to many. He lived a principled life underpinned by a strong sense of right and wrong. Michael cared enough to act, to take a stand. Michael loved the outdoors."

He told how Michael would take him and other relatives on hikes in the mountains and instilled a love of nature in them. He also loved photography, bird watching, cars and guitars.

"He was the life and soul of any party or wedding afters. He was the last to finish the night and he'd be the first to rise the next morning for an early walk. He put us younger ones to shame. We can only live our lives as best we can with purpose, love and joy. Michael did all three."

Sunday Independent

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