Priest jeered after saying murder victim made ‘bad, bad decisions’

Mourners at Darragh Nugent’s funeral told middle-class drug users partly to blame


A priest who was heckled at a funeral mass in Dublin on Friday said he had no regrets about raising the violent past of a gangland murder victim.

Fr David Halpin maintained he spoke the truth when he said Darragh Nugent had made “bad, bad decisions” in his life.

Fr Halpin told the congregation at the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Clondalkin that Mr Nugent’s decisions and actions had contributed to his premature death.

Fr Halpin was heckled by some mourners who said the funeral mass was supposed to be a celebration of Mr Nugent’s life. They shouted at him to stop.

He was also confronted afterwards by angry mourners who complained at the tone of the sermon.

However, he told The Irish Times he had a duty to raise the issue of drug dealing. “It is what it is. I was speaking the truth and some people did not like it,” he said.

“There are many people in my parish who are victims of drugs. The drug pushers are responsible for a lot of that.

“If I were to stand up and say what a nice guy he was, it wouldn’t be accurate or true.”

However, Fr Halpin told mourners at the funeral mass nobody deserved to die the way the victim had on Monday, September 11th.

Mr Nugent (36) was shot dead outside his home in west Dublin by people who initially tried to kick in his front door. He was killed in the front garden of his home in Wheatfield Avenue, Neilstown, while his partner and children were inside the house.

Gardaí believe the murder of Mr Nugent, who had been involved in the drugs trade and gun crime, was linked to the killing of his associate John Gibson, who was shot dead in Tallaght on Monday night last.

Fr Halpin said both murders had deprived young children of their father.

In a hard-hitting sermon, Fr Halpin suggested many people bore responsibility for Mr Nugent’s death.

Primarily, the responsibility lay with the “small-minded person who ordered the hit”.

He said: “We are here because one person decided that they wanted another person out of the way. One person made a decision that they had the licence to order a hit, they had the power of life and death over another, who in their little mind, and I emphasise little, in their little mind, that person had become a hindrance or a problem.”

‘Should know better’

Fr Halpin said the responsibility also extended to those who take illegal drugs. Those who took drugs because of their unfortunate life circumstances had “diminished responsibility”, he told mourners.

“But there are those who live middle-class lives, who go to work every day and then at the weekend take drugs recreationally. Those who should know better, they bear a significant responsibility,” he said.

“Why are people willing to kill? Simply because there is money in it. Therefore, all who give money for drugs bear some responsibility. The stereotypical drug user who is involved in petty crime to feed their habit to the high-class socialite using cocaine at a party at the weekend and then going back to their respectable life on a Monday morning.

“They all bear some responsibility for us being here today. We are here witnessing the tragic outworking of the drug culture.”

Mr Nugent is survived by his partner, Cathy; his children, Darragh, Paige and Preston; and his father, Barry.

Fr Halpin noted that Mr Nugent’s mother, Ann, had died three months ago and that her son’s death added to the family grief.