KENNETH O’BRIEN’S FAMILY were joined by about 300 mourners at a church in Ballyfermot today as they remembered a son and father who had been kind, loving and reserved.
The congregation at St Matthew’s heard how the local man had a passion for technology and a thirst for self-improvement.
His partner Eimear and their young son, Charlie, brought gifts to the altar which included a pair of motorcycle gloves, a baseball cap and family pictures – including one of Kenneth’s beloved dog Jake, a German Shepherd.
The 33-year-old’s dismembered remains were discovered in the Grand Canal in Kildare just over two weeks ago – but Fr Joe McDonald this morning asked people not to recall the manner of his brutal death, but to celebrate an all-too-short life.
Welcoming the mourners, he described the funeral as a “heartbreaking occasion”.
I’m very conscious as well that as we remember Kenneth there is much to be thankful for.
This is a sad day – we come with broken hearts.
O’Brien is survived by Eimear and Charlie, as well as his parents Gerry and Susan and siblings Lee and Janine.
In a letter penned by Gerry, which was read to the congregation, Kenneth’s father said the sudden loss of his son had been heartbreaking for the entire family.
“We feel so privileged to be able to say Kenneth was our son,” the letter said.
Since the loss of his “precious” Kenneth, he said there had been an “outpouring of support and comfort” from family members, friends, former work colleagues and even strangers in the last few weeks.
From the bottom of our hearts we would like to thank you all. This has meant so much.
He also thanked the gardaí who have been investigating his son’s death, and paid a particular tribute to the Garda liaison officer appointed to keep the family informed of developments.
During his sermon, Fr McDonald had described the manner of Kenneth’s death as offensive and an offence to God.
Speaking to family members in recent days, he said they had laughed when he asked them if Kenneth was “the life and soul of the party” – going on to share memories of a quiet, reserved man, but with a strong sense of mischief.
Laid to rest
The family and other mourners entered the church as the hymn Be Not Afraid played. Other music during the Mass included Ennio Morricone’s Gabriel’s Oboe and You Raise Me Up.
Following the service, his remains were brought to Newlands Cross Cemetery to be laid to rest.
A garda spokesperson confirmed that the investigation is ongoing but said there was no update at this stage.
First published 6.05am. Additional reporting Cliodhna Russell.