Thursday 17 January 2019

Quiet dignity as Dunleer pays sombre respects to Cameron

Gardai gather amongst mourners at St. Brigids Church in Dunleer for the Vigil for Cameron Reilly earlier this week. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Gardai gather amongst mourners at St. Brigids Church in Dunleer for the Vigil for Cameron Reilly earlier this week. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

The people of Dunleer yesterday paid their respects to Cameron Reilly and his grief-stricken family with a quiet dignity.

It was clear that the hurt runs deep. It was a respectful response from a tightly-knit community still coming to terms with the senseless murder of a popular young man who had a wide circle of friends.

On what should have been a weekend with the town in joyful mood as the Bank Holiday coincided with the school holidays, the atmosphere was sombre.

As locals filed in and out of the small funeral home in the Co Louth village, some shed a tear or bowed their head in respect but little was said.

Instead, their quiet reflections were broken by the noise of heavy machinery being used nearby as part of a search operation ordered by detectives trying to find out who murdered Cameron.

Army, Coast Guard and Civil Defence personnel were assisting gardai to answer the questions of his heartbroken mother and father. "Why Cameron?"

"What happened?"

"Who would do this?"

Cameron's body had been found just outside the village last Saturday night and this area was the focus of the ongoing gardai search.

The trawl of fields and, separately, a reservoir was taking place just a few hundred yards away from where the 18-year-old lay in repose ahead of his final journey tomorrow.

Detectives hope that finding his missing mobile phone will bring resolution to this profoundly shocking case.

Parish priest Father Michael Murtagh was among those still coming to terms with the village's loss yesterday.

"Associating Cameron with a violent death is very difficult," he said in an acknowledgement of the youngster's good humour and popularity in the locality.

The small Border village was yesterday thronged with uniforms as gardai and the defence forces continued to search with quiet determination to find anything that could help explain what happened.

"Local history is my hobby," Fr Murtagh explained. "So I'd have a knowledge of what has happened here in the past, but I cannot think of something as terrible as this." He reflected on Cameron, seeing him growing up and his ability to get on well with everyone. People have been saying what possible issue could anyone have had with Cameron. It is hard to think about.

"This is something this place has not seen before. I can't recall anything like it. He was a very ordinary kid.

"I remember seeing him growing up, he was always out here playing and I think that is why it has hit people. It is bizarre that something like this would happen to him."

Gardai carried out house-to- house enquiries throughout last week.

"We're not used to this," one woman explains. "This is the kind of thing that should not happen."

Sunday Independent

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