Slain contractor is hailed as a 'gift' to his community
A contractor who was shot dead as he worked with his tractor was hailed as "a hard-working, kind-hearted and honest gift" to his community.
The tribute came as hundreds packed St Colman's Church in Macroom, Co Cork, for the Requiem Mass of father-of-one Derry Coakley (58) yesterday.
Mr Coakley suffered fatal injuries from a shotgun blast as he worked on lands near Raleigh North, some 4km from Macroom, last Tuesday evening.
Despite being seriously injured, he was able to use his mobile phone to raise the alarm. He then tried to drive his tractor to safety but was apparently overcome by his injuries and the vehicle crashed into a wall.
Mr Coakley died before he could be transferred to Cork University Hospital.
Monsignor James O'Donnell told mourners the Macroom community was deeply shocked by the tragic death of a man who had done so much for his native town.
He said Mr Coakley was always willing to help others, telling everyone after a request for help to: "Just leave it with me."
The priest continued: "Last Tuesday night, Derry Coakley's light was suddenly and tragically extinguished.
"We all have our own memories of Derry.
"Like his father, Seán, his name was synonymous with hard work, with long hours of work, with machinery, such as tractors and diggers, with efficiency, with honesty, a desire to help and an inability to say no.
"His importance in our community was well summed up during the week by one of his many friends, who said that whenever there was a job to be done, whenever there was a problem, Derry was the go-to person.
"We are all beneficiaries of Derry's skill - many parts of our town and surrounding countryside have Derry's imprint."
The offertory gifts - models of a tractor and a digger - reflected Mr Coakley's life. His coffin was flanked by photographs of his beloved family and his favourite tractor.
Macroom Tidy Towns and the town's Ploughing Association provided a guard of honour.
The mourners were led by Mr Coakley's mother Joan; his sister, Siobhán; his daughter, Deirdre; her mother, Siobhán; and extended family members.
A man appeared before a special sitting of Bandon District Court on Saturday charged with Mr Coakley's murder.