A WATERFORD community gathered in silence tonight to honour a local 90-year-old whose death shocked rural Ireland.
Hundreds gathered in both Lismore and Ballysaggart for the removal of Paddy Lyons to St Mary’s Church where he had worshipped for so many years.
Friends, neighbours and relatives had vowed that Mr Lyons would be offered “a dignified” funeral tribute.
From shortly after 1pm, mourners gathered at St Carthage’s Mortuary in Lismore to pay their last respects to the retired farmer.
Mr Lyons was discovered dead at his Loughleagh home outside Ballysaggart, some 10km from Lismore, on February 25.
Gardaí launched a murder investigation after a post-mortem examination on Mr Lyons’ remains at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) by Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster.
The post-mortem was ordered by Gardaí who were suspicious of visible marks to Mr Lyons face and head.
The pensioner was discovered slumped in a chair at his farmhouse home at 5pm after locals became concerned about him when he didn’t attend a funeral in the village.
Mr Lyons own funeral was delayed to allow distant relatives to attend from overseas including from the US.
Shortly before 6pm last night, Mr Lyons remains were carried from St Carthage’s Mortuary and brought by funeral cortege to St Mary’s Church in Ballysaggart.
The cortege was led by a single Garda patrol car with several mourners walking behind the hearse as it slowly passed through Lismore town.
Mr Lyons coffin was flanked in the hearse by five wreaths of white lilies and roses.
A framed photo of the retired farmer was later placed on top of his coffin.
Such was the size of the crowd that dozens of mourners were later forced to stand outside.
The remains were received by Fr Michael Cullinan.
Mr Lyons will be buried after 11am Requiem Mass today.
Funeral tributes will be paid by Ballysaggart community groups including the GAA, community alert, musical society and IFA.
The farmer was the only child of the late John and Nora Lyons.
He never married and continued to live alone at the family homestead where, until recently, he farmed a 30 acre plot.
Mr Lyons was a well-known character in the village, famed for his love of music and sport.
He was also a familiar figure at local drama events in west Waterford.
Ross Outram (26) was charged with the murder of Mr Lyons before Dungarvan District Court last Wednesday.
Mr Outram of Ferryland, Waterford Road, Clonmel, Co Tipperary was remanded in custody and will appear before the district court again next Wednesday.