The funeral of murdered Drogheda teenager Keane Mulready-Woods took place today (Thursday, February 13) with St Mary’s Parish priest Father Phil Gaffney using his homily to urge young people to ‘please learn from his mistakes’.
Keane’s funeral took at the Holy Family Church in Ballsgrove, 33 days after his murder, aged just 17, shocked the town and the country. The funeral was attended by his parents Elizabeth and Barry and Keane’s siblings – Darren, Courtney, Ryan and Jack.
Speaking to the congregation, Fr Gaffney spoke directly to Keane’s friends, offering support for their loss and urging them to stay away from involvement in criminal activity. “I want to say a special word of condolence to Keane’s young friends. I know how much his death will affect you.
“He will be so pleased that you remember him with fondness and that you are shedding tears for him. It is good that you will never forget him and that you will always remember him in prayer. Just as his life was opening up, cruel fate took him away.
Please learn from his mistakes, getting involved with dangerous criminals, thinking some of them were his friends and yet they would sacrifice him in such a brutal manner. Keane had his troubles and was young and naive enough to fall in with the wrong people, not knowing or anticipating the dire consequences,” he said.
“I hope that his death will be a warning to other young teenagers who are been groomed by the ruthless criminals, that the promise of money and gifts will inevitably end in tragedy. Keane’s association with them, sadly, led to the inhuman, unthinkable way in which his young life was to end.
“It goes without saying that you will never forget him. You will always mourn for him,” the priest added.
Fr Gaffney alluded to the wait endured by Keane’s family to be able to bury their son and brother. “There is a great sense of relief that, at last, the waiting has come to an end. Now the mourning can begin, and the burial take place, and proper respect be paid to his memory and prayers be offered for his eternal rest and happiness.”
The parish priest also hit out at those responsible for their “arrogance, appalling wickedness and evil,” saying “They took upon themselves to be judge and jury, and executioner.”
Part of the sermon at today’s funeral also focused on drug culture across the country and how the taking of high class drugs has been normalised, an act which only serves to reinforce and augment the resources of criminal drug gangs.
“Drugs have become extremely easy for young people to obtain. Recently someone commented that a lot of people are now budgeting for their debs – as well as their clothes and drink – they’re also budgeting now for cocaine, and other drugs,” Fr Gaffney told the crowd at Keane’s funeral in Ballsgrove.
“It isn’t just communities with deprived socio-economic backgrounds that are worse for illegal drug taking, it has become “socially acceptable” across the country among people from all backgrounds.”
He called on more action from the government, echoing sentiments made from a number of stakeholders at the recent Standing Toegther rally in Drogheda where legislators were called up to support Gardai and community resources on the ground.
“These violent incidents need to be a wake-up call for all of us as a society to realise that actions have consequences. People who are taking drugs on a social basis have to realise that what they are doing is fuelling this situation of violence. The problem arises from the ‘normalisation’ of a drugs culture here in Ireland. Drug taking, “doing a line of coke”, has become as normal as having a drink. We need a nationwide response from our Government.”
He also offered a word of support to Gardai in Drogheda for their work to manage and ultimately end the ongoing feud in the town and ended his sermon by once again by appealing to those involved to end the violence.
“Our Gardaí have been doing their best in the most difficult circumstances to cope with the effects of this feud on the town and its environs. They deserve all our help and support in their efforts in whatever way we can.
“We, the priests in Holy Family parish, along with our bishop, appeal once again – as we have done in the past to those responsible: In the name of God let it end now.”
After the funeral mass, Keane’s remains were buried in Calvery cemetary.
/ Father Phil Gaffney PP speaking at Keane Mulready-Woods funeral
“To say that the death of Keane has shocked and appalled the town of Drogheda would be a total understatement. This young man, at the time not 18 years of age, has been lost in the most gruesome way to his family.
“This murder has brought about an unparalleled level of revulsion, not alone in Drogheda, but throughout our country and, indeed, far beyond.
“This feud in Drogheda has to end sometime. Let’s all hope and pray it ends before more lives are lost.
“And this is what confuses us now. Keane’s death seems so utterly inappropriate. It violates our sense of order. In our view of life, death and childhood are poles apart, and seventeen years simply does not seem the right time to die – it does not seem to add up.”