Funeral of murdered woman held

The scene outside Stonehaven B&B on Monday. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan

The scene outside Stonehaven B&B on Monday. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan

Sat, Mar 2, 2013, 00:00

The life of murdered Naas woman Deirdre Keenan was much more than the last few minutes before her death, mourners at her funeral Mass have heard.

Death was confusing but a sudden and violent death was particularly confusing, Fr Declan Thompson told the packed congregation this morning at the Church of Our Lady and St David, Naas.

Ms Keenan (51) was shot dead at a B&B in Carlow town last Monday by John Deegan (53) who then killed himself with a legally held shotgun.

Their bodies were discovered by a member of the family who runs the B&B on Monday afternoon.

Ms Keenan and Mr Deegan had been in a relationship after separating from their spouses. The couple had been staying in Carlow for a few days before the incident happened.

“A lot of things can be said for a woman who loved life and loved to celebrate life,” Fr Thompson said.

Her family didn’t need words or newspaper front pages now but silence and peace, he added. There had been a lot of interest in Ms Keenan’s death but for the family it was time “to make today their day”.

Fr Thompson said he had experience a similar tragedy when his nephew was shot and killed. The initial reaction was to lash out after such a death. But he added: “The only thing violence brings is pain, it doesn’t bring life.”

“How do we get through this? With great difficulty but also God will turn up in the faces of neighbours and friends, in the hands that reach out and want to make sandwiches and tea,” he said.

Ms Keenan’s sister Josephine said her younger sister loved life and adored her husband Charlie and six children. She said she was close to her only sister from the day she was born and she recalled bringing her to school before she was due to start because she was so excited to bring her along.

She was a great friend to many people, she added. “You will always be in my heart and there you’ll be until we meet again,” she said.

Ms Keenan’s family placed a photograph of her and a pink heart-shaped balloon with the word “mum” on the coffin.

Her coffin travelled along the main street in Naas from her home on Caragh Road before reaching the church. Afterwards she was taken to St Corban’s Cemetery for burial.