Mourners told victim's killers 'agents of evil'


A PRIEST has described those who carried out the brutal murder of a father of one shot while attending his brother’s wedding at Bunratty Castle Hotel as “agents of evil”.

Fr Tony O’Riordan, parish priest in Moyross, Limerick, delivered a hard-hitting homily yesterday at the funeral Mass of Robert Sheehan, who was shot several times at point blank range last Sunday.

Mr Sheehan, who would have celebrated his 22nd birthday today, died from his injuries in hospital last Tuesday after being attacked in the car park of the hotel last weekend.

In his homily in Corpus Christi Church, Fr O’Riordan described Mr Sheehan’s killing as an “unjust and bloody execution”. He appealed to anyone who might contemplate a revenge for Mr Sheehan’s killing to, “Stop! You disrespect Robert’s memory, you disregard his family. You have no right. Do not add to their pain.”

Directly addressing those who fired several shots into Mr Sheehan’s body and head, Fr O’Riordan said: “You have done great evil, and the manner and circumstances that you chose for your cowardly and awful deed reveals the weakness and ugliness of evil. I appeal to you, in the name of God I appeal to you, to have the courage to embark on the road now of truth, of life and of healing.”Politicians, parents, drug dealers and the Catholic Church were included in his criticism of society and the loss of another troubled young man to gun crime.

“To those in power and authority it poses the question: do you take the impact of the lack of work opportunities for young men seriously? Are you so removed from the corrosive reality that it reduces your sense of urgency and creativity?

“To those who manage our public housing estates it poses the questions of the adequacy of your care and quality of the management of the environment in which the people you house live.

“To those officials and politicians and powerful interests in this country there is a question of: do you really know the impact that cuts in educational services and services to young people in need are really having?

“To those in the church, to parishes and to religious orders, I ask: how can we as disciples of the Lord be so well invested in the education and care of middle-class people, but our care and investment in marginalised communities is itself marginal to our concerns?”

During the Mass, Mr Sheehan’s father, Patrick, praised the efforts of staff at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital who “worked tirelessly to save my Rob”. He said his son had helped give life to five other families through donating his organs.

“He’s given five more families happiness that we haven’t got at the moment, but we’re all so proud of him. From such a tragedy there has to be five more bright stars in the sky, and we’re so proud of him,” Mr Sheehan said.

He said, his son – an avid Arsenal soccer fan, who loved horses and his motorbike – was “not a bad boy”, despite having previous convictions for serious crimes, including recklessly endangering the lives of two children in a petrol bomb incident in 2006.

The heartbroken father, whose family has no involvement in crime, called for those who may seek revenge for his son’s murder, to step back.