Priest condemns behaviour at funeral for serial burglar

Last of three men killed in N7 crash buried on Monday

A parish priest in Tallaght has condemned the glorification of criminality which took place at the funeral of a serial burglar who died in a crash on the N7 two weeks ago.

Fr Donal Roche said another clergy member called the Garda for assistance with the crowd which attended last Friday's funeral of Dean Maguire (29).

Gardaí responded that their presence would only aggravate the situation.

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.


The truck driver was hospitalised with injuries to his legs.

On Monday the last of the three dead men, Karl Freeman (26), was buried in Newlands Cemetery following a ceremony in St Aidan's Church in Jobstown.

The nature of Maguire’s funeral at St Mary’s Priory in Tallaght last Friday has attracted a significant amount of public criticism. 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 Roche did not conduct the service but was there to ensure Covid-19 regulations were adhered to.

“People poured in at the start. I tried to lock the church and only did so with difficultly,” the priest told The Irish Times. He said when he turned away from the door to assist other mourners, someone opened the door and more people streamed in.

“They came in so fast that I wasn’t able to count properly.” Tape which had been placed on pews to restrict their use was ripped off, he added.

The family was not from the parish but had asked to make use of St Mary’s Priory for the service, Fr Roche noted.

The priest said he did not know what the offerings were going to be and that he did not read the banner. He said they were “terrible” and have no place at a Catholic funeral.

He called the eulogies offered by family and friends “very strange” and noted that no prayers were offered for “the poor man who was injured in the truck”.

In separate interview with RTÉ Liveline, Fr Roche called it “the most disturbing liturgy he was ever at.”

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.

On Monday a Dublin Archdiocese spokeswoman declined to comment on the funeral out of respect for the deceased’s loved ones.

“Please be advised that a parish is not responsible for activity outside of its church,” she added.


Garda are investigating videos taken last week of the hearse carrying Maguire’s body speeding though Dublin and breaking red lights, along with several other cars.

Freeman, who was driving the BMW at the time of the crash, was the last of the men to be buried.

His remains were brought to St Aidan’s Church on Monday morning by a horse-drawn carriage featuring a large flower arrangement depicting a cannabis leaf. A bagpiper led the mourners.

In 2017, Freeman, who had more than 60 convictions, was described by a judge as a "menace to society" while being jailed for his role in an aggravated burglary of a 77-year-old woman at her home in Co Wicklow.

Masked men threatened her and robbed her wedding ring at 2am, leaving the woman was so terrified that she never returned to her home.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime Correspondent of The Irish Times