Kenneth O’Brien died ‘knowing he was loved’, funeral told
Family of murdered Dublin man ‘affected in worst possible way’ since remains discovered
Kenneth O’Brien’s coffin is carried from St. Matthew’s Church, Ballyfermot on Wednesday morning. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins
The 33-year-old father of one had recently returned from Australia, where he had been working. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins
Floral tributes to Kenneth: One of the offertory gifts was a photograph his son driving his digger. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins
The murder of Kenneth O’Brien and the circumstances surrounding it were “more than anyone should have to endure”, the dead man’s father Gerry O’Brien has told mourners at his funeral Mass.
“This has affected all of us in the worst possible way,” he said of how his son was shot dead and his remains dismembered and thrown into a canal.
“Precious Kenneth, we are all so proud of you. We love you now, always have and will forever.
“As a family we have comfort in knowing Ken died knowing he was loved. And he loved us.”
At a packed service in St Matthew’s Church, Upper Ballyfermot, west Dublin, many mourners were overcome when the deceased’s four-year-old son Charlie cried out for his “da da” as the remains were being taken from the church for burial.
One of the offertory gifts was a photograph of the boy driving his father’s digger and another was a photograph of Mr O’Brien with the family’s German Sheppard dog, Jake.
The 33-year-old father of one was described as a “tall and strikingly handsome”.
Fr Joseph McDonald joked that when he met Mr O’Brien’s family and friends on Tuesday night so he could prepare for the funeral mass, he quickly learned the deceased was a quiet character but a person who had still made a big impact on people’s lives.
“I said to everyone, ‘tell me about him, was he the life and soul of the party?’ And they all laughed and said: ‘Definitely not, no. He was not the life and soul of the party’.
“His aunt said he was hard to get to know, but once you were in, it was loyalty and friendship for life.”
Fr McDonald said the love Mr O’Brien had for his family “was the only headline that mattered”, even though the details of his killing and the aftermath had “made the headlines in the news”.
He was a man who should be defined and remembered for the way he lived life, and not for how he died.
Mr O’Brien’s torso was found in a suitcase on the Grand Canal south of Celbridge, Co Kildare, almost three weeks ago.
He had been shot dead and dismembered, with parts of the Dubliner’s body recovered from the canal after almost two weeks of searches.
A mechanic by trade, Mr O’Brien was living in Clondalkin with his partner Eimear and their son at the time of his disappearance. In December he had come home from Australia, where he had been working in recent years.
“We feel so privileged and honoured to be able to say Kenneth was our son,” his father told mourners in a tribute read by Fr McDonald.
“The sudden loss of Kenneth and the circumstances surrounding his death are more than any parents, partner, son, family, friends of anyone should ever have to endure.
“We have lost a son. Our grandson has lost his father and Eimear has lost her partner.
“Lee and Janine have lost their brother; not to mention the heartbreak of Kenneth’s grandparents, Godparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousin, extended family and circle of friends.”
He added “even strangers” had been part of an “outpouring of support” in the near three weeks since Mr O’Brien was last seen alive.
“From the bottom of our hearts we would like to thank you all. This has meant so much to us and we would not have been able to get through this ordeal without all of your kindnesses.
He thanked the “professional, respectful and compassionate” gardaí and also members of the public who had put the family in a position to be able to bury his son’s remains.
“We understand this has not always been the outcome in these situations . We are so grateful to be in a position to be able to put our son to rest peacefully. We love you, Kenneth.
“Our Kenneth was an intelligent, handsome, loving man and although he’s been lost at this early stage of his life, all of us are thankful that he has been here for the past 33 years.”
Mr O’Brien’s remains were taken from the service in Ballyfermot to Newlands Cross Cemetery for burial.