‘Not my place to make judgement’, says priest, after serial burglar’s ‘show funeral’

Screwdriver and torch among offerings at funeral of Dean Maguire following N7 crash

Dean Maguire from Tallaght was one of three people  killed in a car that was travelling up the N7 the wrong way on July 7th. Photograph: Facebook

Dean Maguire from Tallaght was one of three people killed in a car that was travelling up the N7 the wrong way on July 7th. Photograph: Facebook

 

The priest who celebrated the funeral of a serial burglar last week has said he was not aware offerings would be made of a screwdriver and a torch.

Fr Hugh Kavanagh said that “many things have happened at many funerals which taken out of context might be seen in a different light.”

He was speaking on RTÉ Liveline following the funeral mass of Deane Maguire on Friday last week, which appeared in places to glorify the deceased’s criminality.

The nature of Maguire’s funeral at St Mary’s Priory in Tallaght last Friday attracted a significant amount of public criticism, and international media coverage.

The offerings included a screwdriver and a torch, while a professionally printed banner featured his face and the words “You know the score, get on the floor, don’t be funny, show me the money.”

Fr Kavanagh said he was not aware what the offerings would be, nor was he aware what was printed on the banner. Asked by host Joe Duffy what he thought about a eulogy calling the deceased a “f**king legend”, the priest said eulogies are people’s own views.

Earlier this week, another priest who was helping to manage the crowds at the funeral, Fr Donal Roche, called it “the most disturbing liturgy he was ever at.”

Speaking on Friday, Fr Kavanagh said a funeral is a “private family occasion where people gather to pray for their loved one and to grieve.”

He said Mr Maguire “had a family, he had parents, brothers and sisters, extended family. For me it’s an occasion where we pray for them and trust into God. And I don’t make any judgement about anybody, that’s not my place.”

He declined to say whether the funeral was “hijacked” but said he agreed with the comments of retired Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin that the Catholic church should not facilitate “show funerals” for serious criminals.

“I have done many funerals over the years. Many things have happened at many funerals which, taken out of context, might be seen in a different light,” Fr Kavanagh said.

“When we celebrate funeral Mass we don’t want to condemn or make a judgement about any person.”

He said people have a right to privacy at funerals and that an incident during which the hearse carrying Mr Maguire’s remains sped through parts of Dublin, breaking red lights, had nothing to do with the Mass.

Maguire was one of three men, believed to be part of the same burglary gang, who were killed when their BMW collided with a truck while travelling the wrong way down the road at Rathcoole, Co Dublin.

All three dead men had multiple criminal convictions and Maguire was described in court on one occasion as being part of “a highly sophisticated, organised crime gang”.

At the time of his death, he was wanted by UK police after fleeing from prison in 2018.