Priest at funeral of murdered criminal criticises media


The priest concelebrating the funeral Mass of murdered criminal Eamon Kelly in Dublin yesterday criticised the media for its coverage of his death.

Msgr Alex Stenson told several hundred mourners at St Brigid’s Church, Killester, that not everything they had read in the newspapers was true.

“The Kelly family have suffered dreadfully over the publicity, be it true or false. People have responsibilities, even the media. His death was a horrendous crime. It was evil and nothing justifies it. What happened to Eamon, it was wrong. This has to stop.”

Kelly (65), a convicted drug dealer whose involvement in organised crime spanned more than four decades, was shot dead close to his home in Dublin last week.

Msgr Stenson said Kelly was a family man who loved his children and had many happy memories of spending time with them, especially on family holidays in Achill.

“Some of that is lost sight of in the media skirmishes that go on after these things.”

Msgr Stenson said Kelly had suffered his own recent loss and grief with the death of his wife, Ann, from cancer.

Kelly, a father of nine, was once associated with the Official IRA and in recent years had been a mentor to some of the biggest organised crime gangs in the State. The gangs with which he worked have been feuding with the Real IRA in recent years in a dispute over the dissidents’ attempts to extort money. Gardaí believe Kelly was shot dead as part of that feud.

Among the mourners at the funeral was Dessie O’Hare, the former INLA member and so-called “Border Fox”. He carried Kelly’s coffin along with Kelly’s brother Matt and his sons, from the church to the hearse for the short journey to Glasnevin Cemetery for burial.

O’Hare was released under the Belfast Agreement in April 2006 when he was serving a 40- year sentence for kidnapping and assaulting Dublin dentist John O’Grady. O’Hare had met Kelly in prison and had stayed with him a number of times at the family home in Killester.

O’Hare eulogised Kelly in the church yesterday, saying his goal in life had been to achieve “freedom and peace” from “British colonialism”.