'We will not let gangsters glorify crime at funerals' - Archbishop
The head of the Catholic Church in Dublin has warned gangland figures they won't be allowed to exploit Church funerals to glorify their dead associates and criminal family members.
In a strongly worded statement on the recent upsurge of violence in Dublin, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the spate of shootings had taken on "an unprecedented level of depravity".
He spoke of the shootings carried out "unscrupulously near schools and shopping centres, leaving families terrified and children witnessing brutality that will leave scars on their lives for years".
Dr Martin said the perpetrators and sponsors of such violence "merit nothing but rejection and disdain".
"They belong behind bars and their business of death must be undermined and destroyed," he added.
He also announced that where it can be ascertained that individuals hold direct responsibility "in this traffic in evil" they will no longer be allowed to "exploit religious services in the Archdiocese of Dublin to enhance their image".
The Irish Independent understands the Archbishop would prefer the criminals go for civil funerals rather than use any Church setting for showy displays. If a funeral is requested in a Catholic church, the parish will insist the service is a simple and modest affair.
Calling for their "business of death" to be "destroyed", Dr Martin appealed to anyone who can provide information about the "sickening underworld" behind the violence to have "the courage and the decency" to come forward.
He also appealed to civil and community leaders to show a united and uncompromising response.
"I urge people to approach gardaí either directly or indirectly to provide any information which can help remove this malignance from our streets."
Archbishop Martin's outrage at the violence follows the shooting on Saturday of Noel Boylan in broad daylight outside a Lidl supermarket in west Dublin in front of shocked onlookers and shoppers.
Boylan was shot twice in the arm and chest. In March his son, Lee Boylan (24), was left paralysed after suffering life-altering injuries when a gunman shot him while he was sitting in his van on Blakestown Road, west Dublin.
In January, Zach Parker (23), a barber, was shot in the head and chest outside a gym in Swords.
In May, his friend Jordan Davis (23) was shot dead in Darndale, beside a school and a church, just 17 hours after his friend Sean Little (22) was found murdered on a back road in north Co Dublin.
Another victim of the violence, Hamid Sanambar (41), an Iranian who was granted asylum in Ireland, was murdered last Tuesday.
He was shot in the head during a wake for Sean Little.