Sunday 17 December 2017

Church searched for bombs ahead of funeral of gangland feud victim

Priest calls for 'no revenge' after Hutch/Kinahan feud attack

14 Jun 2017; General view of coffin being carried from church after funeral of Michael Keogh. St. Francis Xavier Church. Gardiner Street, Dublin.
14 Jun 2017; General view of coffin being carried from church after funeral of Michael Keogh. St. Francis Xavier Church. Gardiner Street, Dublin.
14 Jun 2017; General view of coffin being carried from church after funeral of Michael Keogh. St. Francis Xavier Church. Gardiner Street, Dublin.

Alan O'Keeffe

A church was searched for bombs before the funeral of gangland feud victim Michael Keogh today.

A priest called for “no revenge” for his killing as his family and friends attended Requiem Mass at Saint Francis Xavier Church in Dublin today.

Keogh is thought to have been murdered by ‘very close members of the Hutch family’ in the first killing carried out by the Hutch side since February last year
Keogh is thought to have been murdered by ‘very close members of the Hutch family’ in the first killing carried out by the Hutch side since February last year

Fr Dermot Mansfield said it was time to “break the cycle” of violence.

Gardai sealed off the street outside and diverted traffic as  the force’s armed response teams remained in readiness as large numbers of gardai manned a ring of steel around the church.

Michael Keogh (37)  was shot dead two weeks ago in his car at Sheridan Court council flats in Dorset Street.

A handgun with a silencer was found in the partially burned out  getaway car in a laneway off Clonliffe Avenue.

The coffin was carried into the church by exclusively female friends and relatives and undertaker staff amid security fears that innocent male coffin bearers could be targeted.

The coffin was placed on the shoulders of eight men inside the church and carried to the altar as a musical group performed the Christy Moore hit ‘Ordinary Man.’

14 Jun 2017; General view of funeral procession leaving church after funeral of Michael Keogh. St. Francis Xavier Church. Gardiner Street, Dublin.
14 Jun 2017; General view of funeral procession leaving church after funeral of Michael Keogh. St. Francis Xavier Church. Gardiner Street, Dublin.

Tears flowed freely at the end of the Mass when poignant messages of love composed by the victim’s  11-year-old son and 18-year-old son were read from the altar.

Fr Mansfield, a member of the Jesuit order, was assisted at the Mass by parish priest Fr Gerry Clarke.

Fr Mansfield made a plea that there would be no revenge and that people will be allowed to go forward with their lives in peace.

“In the midst of sorrow and bewilderment and worry and fear, you will want, as much as any of us would want, that the cycle of things that leads from one thing to the next would break and there would be no revenge,” he said.

He said the people shared the hope that the cycle of revenge would broken and changed.

“It’s not that everything goes well but we try to go on  in forgiveness and hope and faith and reaching out to another person.

“We all want that, you all want that,” he said.

“Our hope and prayer today is that it is Michael’s inheritance and gift to us is to live on in our lives and to try to go forward and make life worthwhile.

“I hope we can all go forward in strength and goodness,” he said.

He said that the victim was taken from life “out of his time”.

“Michael was trying to get his life around and go forward in life but he wasn’t given the chance,” he said.

The priest said the murdered man was now with God and “in the arms of his mother Patricia,”  who died  in recent years, he said.

The victim’s father, Michael Senior, was brought into the church in a wheelchair. Other chief mourners were the victim’s two young sons, sisters, brothers, and nieces and nephews.

Gardai are investigating his murder on the basis that it was carried out by a hitman working for the Hutch crime gang.

Michael Keogh was not believed to have been involved in serious crime.  Just hours before his death, he had posted on Facebook that he was looking forward to starting work in a new job.

The gifts brought to the altar at the beginning of his  Requiem Mass included a blue safety helmet and high viz jacket that he would have worn in his new job.

The gifts also included a container that he used for his  protein drinks as part of his fitness regime.  His motorcycle helmet was placed on top of the coffin in recognition of his love of motorcycle riding.

A family photograph was also placed on the coffin.

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