Hundreds attend Quinn funeral


HUNDREDS of mourners braved a blizzard to attend the burial of Mrs Joyce Quinn on Saturday.

In St Conleth's cemetery outside Kildare town, the shopkeeper and mother of three who was murdered last Tuesday, was laid to rest.

After requiem Mass in St Brigid's church, concelebrated by 23 priests led by the Rev Frank O'Shaughnessy, the mourners walked a long mile in bitter cold and driving snow to the country cemetery. The cortege was paced by the measured gait of 40 uniformed Army officers, including the Chief of Staff, Lieut Gen Gerry McMahon.

Father O'Shaughnessy, who married Joyce and Ray Quinn 23 years ago in Dublin's Liberties was upset throughout the Mass. "I have officiated at some very sad funerals in my time, but this is the saddest of them all," he told an overflowing congregation.

"The inane, cruel savagery of it - mere words are meaningless and inadequate to express the dreadful heartbreak it has brought."

The parish choir was strengthened by 14 year old Lisa Quinn's classmates from the Holy Faith convent in Newbridge. Outside the church, the coffin was wheeled through a guard of honour from Newbridge College, where David Quinn (16), goes to school.

In the cemetery, Comdt Ray Quinn's military colleagues gathered tightly around the bareheaded family, their relatives, friends and neighbours, for prayers at the graveside before Ms Nicole Quinn (21) dropped a white rose into her mother's grave.

Among the mourners was the President, Mrs Robinson, who had a private meeting with Comdt Quinn and his children, and Mrs Quinn's mother Mrs Pat Wickham, whose husband Comdt Tommy Wickham was killed on UN duty on the Golan Heights almost 40 years ago. Other mourners included Mrs Quinn's brothers Brian and Alan and her sisters Barbara and Denise.

The funeral Mass was attended by the Minister for Defence, Mr Barrett, and the Taoiseach's aide de camp, Capt Maurice McQuillan. Representing the Defence Forces were Lieut Gen McMahon; his assistant, Brig Gen Paddy Nowlan; GOC Eastern Command, Brig Gen Paddy Dwyer; GOC Curragh Command, Brig Gen Frank Colclough; Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service, Commodore John Kavanagh; Col Kevin Hogan of the Air Corps; Mgr Ray Field, head chaplain, and several dozen of Comdt Quinn's brother officers. Assistant Commissioner Noel Conroy represented the Garda.