Funeral held for 'much-loved' newly-wed Keith Branigan who was 'callously murdered' in Drogheda
THE funeral of a young man murdered as part of the escalating Drogheda feud has heard a call for those involved or who may be planning revenge to turn away from violence.
Hundreds of mourners turned out to pay their respects to Keith Branigan (29) at his funeral mass in the Louth town this morning.
Branigan was shot dead on Tuesday of last week at a caravan park in Clogherhead and his killing is linked to the ongoing feud.
There was an overt garda presence around the funeral mass with uniformed gardai, detectives as well as members of the Armed Support Unit (ASU) patrolling the area around the church.
Mourners heard how the newly-wed was a "bubbly" and "much-loved character" who was "callously murdered last week."
Fr Phil Gaffney made a plea from the alter at the Church of the Holy Family for the men and women involved in the feuding to stop the violence.
The parish priest also said people should observe the rule of law, "particularly for those who could be planning revenge" for the murder of Keith Branigan.
"The music has stopped in our town, not just because the Fleadh has finished, but because some people want to continue the feud which has blighted our town for the last 15 months.
"Last week when schools were preparing to open for a new year, someone was planning to end the life of a young man," Fr Gaffney said.
"Our sorrow can only be eased by the men and women turning away from violence and observing the rule of law, particularly those who could be planning revenge at this time.
"When will it stop, Who can make it stop. Only the men and women of Drogheda who want a better future for their children," Fr Gaffney added.
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A picture of Keith Branigan was placed on his coffin along with flowers during the mass, while floral tributes were placed beside the casket as it made its way from the church to Calvary Cemetery for burial.
Branigan, who is survived by his wife Rachel, mother Iris and sisters as well as his wider family, is the first person to be killed as part of the Drogheda feud.
Although not believed to be centrally involved in the dispute, his close links to one man leading a gang in the feud is being treated as the motive for his killing.
Senior investigators have said that they will continue to deploy armed units across the town as part of Operation Stratus, the anti-gangland initiative in Drogheda.
Supt Andrew Watters also moved to reassure the community that "everything is being done" by gardai to stop the violence.
Speaking to reporters last week following the gun murder he said: "We have an operation in place in Drogheda, and surrounding areas, that we have made a number of very serious detections, arrests, prosecutions.
"Everything is being done by An Garda Siochana in terms of resources, equipment and IT, everything is being done both locally and national to attempt to protect the people of Drogheda and surrounding areas," Supt Watters said.
Gardai are continuing to appeal for anyone with any information in relation to the murder of Keith Branigan to come forward.