Hundreds escort murdered biker for removal ceremony
Solemn air as bikers from all over Ireland gather for removal of Andrew O’Donoghue
An image from the Road Tramps website. Andrew O’Donoghue was a member of the Limerick-based motorcycle club.
Hundreds of bikers from across the country have escorted a murdered “brother” on one of his final journeys along narrow country roads in Co Limerick.
A solemn and dignified air hung over the small Co Limerick village of Ballyneety on Tuesday evening as bikers from clubs all over Ireland gathered for the removal of Andrew O’Donoghue, who was shot dead at the weekend.
The 51-year-old was fatally injured after he was shot in the face at least twice outside Road Tramps Motorcycle Club Ireland in Murroe, Co Limerick, at 3pm last Saturday.
Detectives believe the murder of the father-of-one is linked to a dispute between two biker clubs.
An assault also took place last Friday in Doon, Co Limerick, and on Sunday in Castletroy a number of shots were fired at an apartment.
Nobody was injured in either incident.
A shotgun believed to have been used in Saturday’s fatal gun attack has been recovered and four men remain in Garda custody.
Bikers from several clubs across the country including the Road Tramps, Free Wheelers, Vikings, Hells Angels and Devil’s Disciples gathered in small hushed circles outside Cross’s funeral home in Ballyneety for Mr O’Donoghue’s removal.
Hundreds of motorbikes, including dozens of Harley Davidsons and Hondas, were parked side-by-side outside the funeral home before his remains were escorted to the the Road Tramps motorcycle club house in Montfune, Murroe.
The solemn air was broken shortly before 7.30pm when motorcycle engines revved before three of Mr O’Donoghue’s “brothers” from the Road Tramps led the hearse, followed by a convoy of hundreds of bikes.
The 51-year-old will be waked this Tuesday night in the clubhouse, metres from where he was shot at the weekend.
Two photos of the steel fabricator rested on his closed coffin in the removal home as hundreds of mourners sympathised with his partner Kate Danaher and their young daughter, Ava.
A large and visible Garda presence kept watch as mourners arrived to pay their respects to the well-known and popular biker.
Mr O’Donoghue, who was originally from Lynwood Park in Limerick city, moved to Murroe with his partner, who was originally from Cappamore, a number of years ago after spending a number of years in the US.
Fr Tom Ryan, who will be the chief celebrant at Wednesday’s funeral Mass in Murroe, was a friend of the murdered biker.
“He was a friend of mine, I knew him well and his partner Kate and their daughter Ava who is in sixth class in the local school. He was a lovely man. It was a terrible shock for the whole community,” said Fr Ryan.
“But the community is offering great support to her [Kate] and people have been really good.”
Mr O’Donoghue is also survived by his mother Kathleen and his two brothers, Peter and David.
His funeral Mass will take place on Wednesday at 11.30am in Murroe church, with burial afterwards in Abington cemetery.
Wrong place, wrong time
One line of inquiry being pursued by officers in the case is that the father-of-one was in the wrong place at the wrong time and the gunman was looking for anyone connected to the club.
CCTV footage from the scene of Saturday’s murder has been taken as part of the the inquiry.
At a special sitting of Limerick District Court in Kilmallock on Monday night, Judge Marian O’Leary granted gardaí an additional time to question three men suspected of murdering the motorcycle enthusiast.
The suspects aged 48, 49, and 25 can be detained for a further 72 hours.
A fourth man aged in his 40s also remained in Garda custody on Monday night in connection with the investigation.
In his evidence at Kilmallock District court, Chief Supt Pat Sullivan from Tralee outlined the extensive investigation into the murder and said a total of 50 gardaí from across the Limerick Division are involved in the investigation.
A dedicated scientist and ballistics expert has been assigned to the case.
Mr Sullivan said a number of items, including a firearm, shell casings and wadding, recovered in searches in the aftermath of the shooting, have been recovered and have been sent to Dublin for forensic and ballistics testing.