Valerie French-Kilroy was ‘put here to help’, her funeral in Cork was told

‘Loving and caring’ mother-of-three, killed last week, laid to rest in her native West Cork

Bishop of Cork Dr Paul Colton and Christopher Peters, Dean of Rosscarbery lead the procession at the funeral of Valerie French-Kilroy, who was found dead last week at her home in Mayo. Photograph:  Denis Boyle

Bishop of Cork Dr Paul Colton and Christopher Peters, Dean of Rosscarbery lead the procession at the funeral of Valerie French-Kilroy, who was found dead last week at her home in Mayo. Photograph: Denis Boyle

 

Valerie French-Kilroy, who was found dead at her home in Co Mayo last week, was remembered as a caring and loving mother who was “put here to help” people at her funeral Mass on Thursday.

Ms French-Kilroy’s brother, David French recalled his sister’s caring nature in a eulogy at St Fachtna’s Church of Ireland Cathedral in Rosscarbery in west Cork.

Mr French asked mourners to bear with him as he delivered a poignant and moving tribute to his late sister. He prefaced his remarks by reminding mourners how he and Ms French-Kilroy’s family’s most immediate priority was the welfare of her three little boys, one aged 5 and twins aged 2.

“First and most importantly; Valerie’s three young sons are almost unaware of the catastrophe that has unfolded around them. Their wellbeing and their future will be our priority just as it was Valerie’s,” he said.

“We are here to celebrate Valerie’s wonderful life, not to remember the horrific circumstances of her death,” said Mr French. He told mourners in the Church of Ireland cathedral that “the name Valerie means strong and valiant”.

‘Caring and loving’

Describing his late sister as “an immensely caring and loving person”, Mr French said her kind nature was evident throughout her life, both at home and at work. Ms French-Kilroy was an occupational therapist, working with the HSE mental health services in the community in North Mayo.

Her brother recalled a piece that his sister had written ten years ago about her career where she described her work, enabling people “to return to doing everyday activities so they can take control of their world and regain a meaningful life for themselves”.

Mr French said his sister had “a wonderful laugh” and just like their late father, Jamie, whom she adored, “she had a great sense of fun and enjoyment, an immense capacity for work and a deep connection with people across the community wherever she was”.

“Valerie was very practical and capable across a wider range of areas. She loved music, festivals, storytelling, art, crafts, nature, gardening and animals,” said Mr French. He also said his sister could also be very direct in her communication with people when that was required.

Joining Mr French at the funeral service, which was led by the local Church of Ireland rector and Dean of Ross, Rev Christopher Peters, was Ms French-Kilroy’s elderly mother, Valerie French from Leap and her sisters, Suzette, Hilary and Veronica and her parents-in-law, Richard and Jay Kilroy.

‘Tragic events’

Dean Peters recalled Ms French-Kilroy as “someone at ease in and with herself, happy to be bit a different and do things different”.

“It is the precious memories of her life which must always define our memories of Valerie and her marriage to James and not the tragic events of this last week,” he said.

David French asked those present to pray for Ms French-Kilroy’s husband, James Kilroy (46), of Kilbree Lower, Westport, Co Mayo, who was charged on Sunday with her murder.

“Above all else, please pray for the future of Valerie’s three sons. Please pray that they will grow up to be the men their mother wanted to see, with lives as full of laughter, love, joy, happiness and hope as hers was,” said Mr French.

Mr French also paid tribute to An Garda Síochána, the HSE, Tusla, the funeral directors and the many other dedicated professionals who have supported the family over the past few days since her death.

After the funeral service, which was also attended by the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross Dr Paul Colton, Ms French-Kilroy was buried in the adjoining cemetery beside her father, Jamie.