Funeral of brother brings town to standstill


THE town of Clara, Co Offaly, came to a standstill yesterday as shops and schools closed for the funeral of Brother Laurence Timmons, the Franciscan who was shot dead in Kenya last week.

Brother Larry - or, as he was known when teaching in St Francis's Boys' School in Clara from 1972 to 1980, Brother Placidus - was a native of Delvin, Co Westmeath. St Brigid's Church was fitted for the Requiem Mass, at which the Bishop of Meath, Dr Michael Smith, was the principal celebrant.

Capt Pauleen O'Connell represented the President, Mrs Robinson. The Taoiseach was represented by Capt Maurice McQuillan. A Minister of State, Mr Bernard Durkan, represented the Government.

The attendance also included Brother James Mungovan OSF, Superior-General of the Franciscan Brothers, together with many members of the order.

In his homily, Bishop Smith said Brother Larry's death caused immense grief and toss to his parents, brothers and sisters, and to the Franciscan community. He described him as a man who gave so much and still had much to offer. The needs of the people in the area where he worked were great, and he was not stow to put their case to those whom he thought might be able to help.

The bishop said Brother Larry was totally committed to serving those in his care. He became a champion of the poor and frequently spoke out on their behalf, white conscious of the risks involved. It was his commitment to the poor and their right to justice that ultimately cost him his life.

After the Mass, burial was in the Monastery Cemetery in Clara. The cortege stretched more than a mile, with pupils of St Francis's School and Ard Scoil Chiarain joining members of Clara Pitch and Putt Club and the GAA Club in providing a guard of honour.

The chief mourners were his elderly parents, Tom and Netty Timmons, brothers Tom and Jim, and sisters Margaret, Gemma Mary, Colette, Sheila and Lily.