‘Appalling wickedness and evil’: Funeral of Keane Mulready-Woods takes place

Remains of teenager brought to Drogheda church in white coffin

 

Gang members involved in the Drogheda feud must stop the violence, and young people caught up in it need to learn from the murder of Keane Mulready-Woods, said the priest concelebrating the 17-year-old’s funeral mass.

In his homily, Fr Phil Gaffney said a drug culture had now spread across Ireland and been normalised, adding the boy’s killers “took upon themselves to be judge and jury, and executioner”.

“What arrogance. What appalling wickedness and evil,” he said of those who murdered and dismembered the boy last month in what was the third murder in a volatile gangland feud in Drogheda, Co Louth.

“This murder has brought about an unparalleled level of revulsion, not alone in Drogheda, but throughout our country and, indeed, far beyond,” Fr Gaffney said.

He said the boy “had his troubles” adding that he was “young and naive enough to fall in with the wrong people, not knowing or anticipating the dire consequences”.

“I hope that his death will be a warning to other young teenagers who are being groomed by the ruthless criminals; that the promise of money and gifts will inevitably end in tragedy,” he said.

“Keane’s association with them, sadly, led to the inhuman, unthinkable way in which his young life was to end.”

Addressing the boy’s friends at Thursday’s funeral at the Church of the Holy Family in Ballsgrove, Drogheda, the priest said he knew they had been deeply affected by his murder.

“Please learn from his mistakes, getting involved with dangerous criminals, thinking some of them were his friends and yet they would sacrifice him in such a brutal manner,” he said.

“Drugs have become extremely easy for young people to obtain. It isn’t just communities with deprived socio-economic backgrounds that are worse for illegal drug-taking, it has become socially acceptable across the country among people from all backgrounds.

“People who are taking drugs on a social basis have to realise that what they are doing is fuelling this situation of violence. The problem arises from the ‘normalisation’ of a drugs culture here in Ireland.

“Drug taking, ‘doing a line of coke’, has become as normal as having a drink. We need a nationwide response from our Government.”

Family

Keane is survived by his parents Elizabeth and Barry, his sister Courtney and by his brothers Darren, Ryan and Jack.

He was last seen alive in his native Drogheda on Sunday, January 12th at about 6pm. Gardaí believe he was killed in the town and dismembered that evening; his remains were found in two locations in north Dublin over the next two days.

There was a significant Garda presence on Thursday at the funeral. Several hundred people attended the funeral Mass.

The funeral cortege followed by about 100 mostly young people, many wearing white T-shirts with a photograph of the teenager, arrived at the church shortly after 11am. His remains were brought to the ceremony in a white coffin. There was a heavy Garda presence at the funeral. The Garda had requested that the media not enter the church during the funeral service, though reporters, photographers and TV camera crews gathered outside. While a number of press photographers and TV camera crews were taking photographs and footage as the cortege arrived, a young man broke off from the crowd and approached them.

He told those present to leave, adding if they were still outside the church when the service was over he would break their cameras.

After the service ended about 45 minutes later, when a larger group of photographers had gathered, two men ran over to the members of the media, calling them “scum”, only to be stopped by gardaí who moved in to prevent a confrontation.

Gardaí were set to retain a presence around any social gatherings on Thursday night after the burial of Mulready-Woods at Drogheda’s Calvary Cemetery.

Some of the people gathered for the funeral are also targets of the gang that killed the 17-year-old last month and there are fears they could be targeted at any time as part of the feud.