| 9.8°C Dublin

Kira says final farewell to her tragic dad

Close

12-year-old Kira Walsh at the funeral of her father Tom Walsh in Templemore, Co Tipperary.

12-year-old Kira Walsh at the funeral of her father Tom Walsh in Templemore, Co Tipperary.

Tom Walsh, who was gunned down at the restaurant where he worked in Florida

Tom Walsh, who was gunned down at the restaurant where he worked in Florida

/

12-year-old Kira Walsh at the funeral of her father Tom Walsh in Templemore, Co Tipperary.

A 12-YEAR-OLD girl said a final farewell to her murdered father yesterday with a simple prayer from the altar.

Brave Kira Walsh, the daughter of Florida shooting victim Tom Walsh, didn't falter as she asked for support for herself and her family during the difficult days ahead.

Kira and her mother were joined by up to 1,000 mourners at Templemore Church, Co Tipperary, where leaflets filled with poems and memories of Mr Walsh -- known to his friends in America as "Irish Tom" -- were handed out to the congregation.

Mr Walsh (43) was gunned down inside the Mainstreet Grill restaurant where he worked at DeLand, Florida, the Saturday before last.

An investigation into the killing is ongoing but police have yet to say whether they believe it was a random act of a thief or if Mr Walsh was targeted deliberately.

A native of Templemore, Mr Walsh moved to the US in 1994.

Yesterday, his former wife Lisa Stinnett, their daughter Kira, his mum Elizabeth; brothers Brian, Michael, and Gerard; and sisters Helen, Catherine, Monica, and Carmel were joined by relatives and friends at the funeral.

Senseless

Chief celebrant Fr James Walton described how a "bright light" had been extinguished.

Fr Walton described how many tributes had been paid to Mr Walsh over the past week, describing him as a "loving and caring" father, brother, son and friend.

Mr Walsh's godchild and niece Emer told of her "special bond" with her uncle, recalling how she spent time with him last summer when he visited Templemore with Kira.

"We went to the equivalent of a Fr Ted funfair," she said, before laughing about how her uncle mimicked the compere who "knew everyone".

"For the day, Tom was taking him off saying 'fair play to ya Johnny'."

She also described how her uncle had paintings, photographs and books of Ireland in his home in the US.

"He was listening to Gerry Ryan online," she added.

Mr Walsh's sister, Helen, described the killing as "senseless".

"But there's no going back. Tom had a good life, he had a great sense of fun," she said.

She said her brother was adored by his mother.

"He was a regular Irish guy who went to the States and made good but my mum would say he was a cut above a regular guy."

Helen said the "profound impact" of his death showed he was "not just a regular guy after all".

Irish Independent