Funeral of Aoife Phelan is held
The funeral of murdered 30-year-old Aoife Phelan took place this afternoon in Co Laois.
Hundreds of mourners filled St Patrick’s Church and its grounds in the village of Ballyroan, not far from the young woman’s family home.
Ms Phelan was killed over two weeks ago and her body discovered in the locality on Wednesday.
Ballyroan was at a standstill with all businesses in the village closed for the funeral and hundreds of parked cars lining the roads on either side.
The entire community appeared to have turned out to support Ms Phelan’s parents Michael and Betty, her 11 brothers and sisters and extended family.
Parish Priest Fr Gerard Ahern described Ms Phelan’s death as a “senseless" loss.
“That someone should die in the circumstances that Aoife’s life was taken goes beyond human understanding,” he said. “We shouldn’t be here today, but that is the reality we are confronted with.”
He said Ms Phelan was a happy person who lived life to the full. She was caring and thoughtful and had a love of children. She was also a rugby supporter and a Chelsea fan. She had a talent for sketches and a love of music, Fr Ahern said. And he urged family and friends not to forget the good times they shared with her.
Ties of friendship and affection did not unravel with death, he said.
Emblems placed on Ms Phelan's coffin by family members included teabags, a Chelsea football club mug and a Bon Jovi CD as well as art materials.
Prayers were said for her family, friends and all those who had helped in the search for her body including gardai as well as for the entire community. At the close of the funeral, family members read poems and shared memories of Ms Phelan before she was laid to rest in St Patrick's Cemetery.
A man from Portlaoise has been charged with her murder. Robert Corbet (24), Sheffield, Timahoe Road, came before a special sitting of Portlaoise District Court at 11am yesterday.
Judge Catherine Staines remanded Mr Corbet in custody to appear at Cloverhill District Court next Thursday, November 15th,
After the hearing, Aoife Phelan’s family issued a brief statement thanking gardaí for their "working tirelessly” on the case and the Ballyroan community whose support they said had “overwhelmed” them.
“Today we are happy to have Aoife back with us, her family.
“Her death has left us sad and heartbroken. She was a loving daughter and sister and we will miss her dearly.
“We are overwhelmed by the support and the kindness we have received over the past two weeks.
“We would like to thank all the people who helped in searching for Aoife and who have been there for us, especially family members, neighbours, friends and the Ballyroan community.
“We would like to acknowledge the efforts of An Garda Síochána who have worked tirelessly to have Aoife returned to us.
“We ask now for privacy as we spend our remaining precious time with Aoife today and attend to her funeral tomorrow.”