Large crowd attends funeral of Anne Shortall in Co Wicklow

Priest speaks of ‘palpable sense of strength and love’ in community following her death

The family of murdered grandmother Anne Shortall (47) has been wracked by sorrow and heartache in the week since she was murdered, her requiem mass has heard.

Parish priest Fr Donal Roche told the congregation the week since Ms Shortall went missing had been harrowing for her large and extended family and for the whole community of Rathnew in Co Wicklow.

Fr Roche welcomed Ms Shortall's coffin to the St Peter's Church Rathnew, his words relayed via loudspeaker to large crowds gathered in the churchyard and the streets around.

Tokens from Ms Shortall’s life, a family photograph, a deck of cards and toys from her grandchildren were placed on the coffin alongside a crucifix and bible.

In his homily, Fr Roche recalled a candlelit vigil on a bridge over the Vartry River on Wednesday night. The several hundred people standing on the bridge in silence was, he said, a powerful symbol of the community coming together in support of Ms Shortall and her family.

While there was not a lot that the community could then do, he said there was a palpable sense of strength and love.

Ms Shortall, a mother of three adult children and two grandchildren from Rathnew, was last seen alive at Leitrim Place in Wicklow town at about 4pm on Good Friday. A missing person alert was issued by gardaí on Monday.

A team of more then 100 local people and gardaí­ searched a nearby area on the coast known as the Murrough on Monday and Tuesday, but the search was called off after her body was discovered in a shed near Ashford on Tuesday.

Ms Shortall, who was originally a member of the well-known Doyle family from Rathnew, had 12 siblings and was separated.

Her former husband was a member of a the Shortall family who ran a butchers’ shop in Wicklow town for a number of years.

A man appeared before Bray District Court on Thursday charged with her murder. Roy Webster (38) with an address at Kiloughter, Ashford, Co Wicklow was remanded in custody to appear before Cloverhill District Court on April 16th.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist