Priest heckled at Nugent funeral says he has received local support
Fr Halpin told congregation that man who was shot dead made ‘bad decisions’ in life
Fr David Halpin: “As a priest my job is to speak the truth and I aim to do that.”
The priest who was heckled at a funeral mass last Friday has said he has received “lots of positive comments” since from the local community.
Fr David Halpin told the congregation at Darragh Nugent’s funeral on Friday the young man had made “bad, bad decisions” in his life.
Mr Nugent (36) was shot dead outside his home in Wheatfield Avenue, Neilstown earlier this month.
Fr Halpin was heckled by some mourners at the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Clondalkin who said the mass was supposed to be a celebration of Mr Nugent’s life and shouted at him to stop.
Speaking after Sunday Mass at the same church, Fr Halpin told The Irish Times, “it’s been an interesting few days.”
“I didn’t think I was going to be on the front of newspapers,” he said.
“I’ve had lots of very positive comments. I spent a lot of yesterday replying to comments on email, text messages and phone calls, a lot of people supportive of what I said and a lot of people saying they wish more people would say that.
‘Not on Facebook’
“I haven’t personally gotten any negative comments. I believe there are negative comments on Facebook but I’m not on Facebook.”
Fr Halpin, originally from north Co Dublin, has been with the Neilstown and Rowlagh-Quarryvale parishes for the last four years.
“As a priest my job is to speak the truth and I aim to do that,” he said. “Everybody should speak against evil, everybody should.”
Mr Nugent was mentioned during the prayers in Sunday’s sermon, which was attended by around 50 people.
Fr Halpin shook hands and spoke to the congregation as they exited the church just before 11am.
“It’s a lovely community, there’s lots of really good people here. I’ve really enjoyed working here for four years,” he added.
One elderly woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said she thinks Fr Halpin “was right to say what he did”.
“He was saying that maybe for other young people to understand that if you make bad decisions, you’re going to suffer for it,” she said.
“I think he was a very strong priest to come out and say that, very brave.
“You know, it’s gone out of control. You hear of a death nearly every week now. People getting shot all the time. There has to be some way to stop this.”
Gardaí believe the murder of Mr Nugent, who had been involved in the drugs trade and gun crime, was linked to the killing of his close associate John Gibson, who was shot dead in Tallaght last week.
Mr Gibson, a fitness instructor and father-of-two from Lucan, died of multiple gunshot wounds after being ambushed in a car park on Fortunestown Lane, Tallaght last Monday.
Mr Gibson had been in court on minor drugs charges just three months ago.