Funeral of murdered Army veteran in Limerick

 

THE SECOND of two elderly Limerick men, who were killed on the same day, will be buried today.

Locals from St Mary’s parish in Limerick city will gather this morning for the funeral Mass of Francis Allen (73), who died in an accidental house fire at his home on St Munchin’s Street in St Mary’s Park last Monday.

Just two days ago, mourners gathered in the same church for the funeral Mass of Mr Allen’s neighbour James Boyce, who was found murdered at his home on the same day.

A former Army veteran, Mr Boyce (72) had been beaten to death in his hallway before he was locked in his upstairs bedroom.

Mr Boyce, who served with distinction as part of the UN forces in the Congo in 1961, was found after meals-on-wheels staff entered his home when he failed to answer the door and neighbours had become concerned.

Mr Boyce received a UN medal for his military service after surviving an attack on a platoon of Irish soldiers while he was in the Congo.

Garda detectives investigating his killing have spoken to a young man who is on temporary release from prison who may prove crucial to their inquiries.

Nobody has yet been charged with the murder, which gardaí believe was motivated by robbery.

At his funeral Mass in St Mary’s Church on Saturday, Canon Donough O’Malley said the people of St Mary’s parish were plunged into grief following the tragic deaths of their two elderly neighbours.

“For our parish, last Monday was a low day because two elderly men met their deaths suddenly and in an extraordinary manner. One died as a result of an accidental fire in his home and the other died tragically, beaten to death brutally, in the privacy of his home.”

In his homily Fr O’Malley recalled Mr Boyce’s “long and useful life” and paid tribute to the six years he served with the UN peacekeeping mission in the Congo.

“He usefully gave his service and the willingness to lay down his life like the redeemer for the well being and the uplifting of others,” he added

Family friend Noel Woodland said the pensioner, who was known as “Boycie” to all his friends, had returned home from England 15 years ago to care for his late brother Joseph.

“He will be sadly missed by all his neighbours and friends and especially me,” Mr Woodland said. “He was a soft gentle soul and I will always remember him.”

The funeral Mass of Mr Allen, who is survived by his sister Lucy and brother-in-law Liam, will take place today at St Mary’s Church at 10am today. Cremation will take place afterwards in the Island Crematorium, Cork.