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Hundreds gathered to pay their respects.
Bruna Fonseca

'It makes us stronger': Family of Bruna Fonseca thank hundreds who turned out to remember her

A vigil and a mass were held in Cork city today in memory of the Brazilian native.

THE FAMILY OF Bruna Fonseca, a 28-year-old Brazilian woman who was killed in a Cork city apartment in the early hours of New Years Day, have expressed their deep gratitude to the hundreds who turned out to remember her today.

Her cousin Marcela Fonseca thanked everyone who turned up at the Lough amenity in Cork City today, and who attended a mass hosted by Cork Penny Dinners in memory of Bruna.

“I would like to say thank you to everyone. This is important to us and it makes us stronger. The entire Irish community and Brazilian community here have helped us a lot, I have no words to describe my gratitude. I just want to say thank you so much for everything,” the 28-year-old, who also lives in Cork, said. 

Bruna was working as a cleaner at the Mercy University Hospital. She had just arrived in Cork in September. She was also a qualified librarian.

WhatsApp Image 2023-01-08 at 17.12.44

The Lough amenity in Cork city was one of Bruna’s favourite places to visit. The vigil there was live-streamed to Bruna’s family who are in Brazil.

Pedro Barroso and Gabriella Lobianco, Friends of Bruna, spoke at the vigil. They thanked everyone for their show of support, and directed anyone who is struggling in the wake of what happened to Bruna to get support from the Samaritans or Women’s Aid.

WhatsApp Image 2023-01-08 at 17.12.58 Friends of Bruna spoke at the vigil.

“We know that is has been a tough week trying to understand how this happened,” Gabriella said.

They also read a statement from Bruna’s long time friend Maria Paula who said that Bruna was a “loving and dedicated daughter and sister, a confidant friend and great companion, a committed and honest professional.”

Maria further said that Bruna was an empathetic human being who helped others in any way she could.

“No challenge was big enough to stop the focus she had. And I’m sure she will live through us, because she is unforgettable,” the message said.

A mass was also held in a facility owned by Cork Penny Dinners, as the staff there knew Bruna, and wanted to show her family that there was a community of people in Cork who cared for her, and who are now grieving her loss.

“She was a lovely girl,” founder Caitriona Twomey said, adding that she had gotten to know Bruna since she moved to Cork a few months ago.

“The Brazilian community are friends to us here, some come to volunteer and some come to get help,” Caitriona added.

WhatsApp Image 2023-01-08 at 17.07.44 A mass was held by Cork Penny Dinners.

Fr Jack Twomey, who led the mass, said that it was important for the local community to let Bruna’s family know that she was cared for, and is remembered.

“Her family at home will know about this, and will know people gathered in her honour.”

After the mass, he reflected on how tragic it was that Bruna had come here to “make a new beginning, and it ended this way.”

“It is terribly, terribly sad,” he added.

Garda Adrian Cole, who works in community policing, offered his condolences on behalf of his colleagues in Cork city, “Bruna is in our thoughts, I wanted to come to the mass to pay my respects to her, and her family,” he said.

A fundraiser to raise funds to help Bruna’s family repatriate her body to Brazil raised €54,262, as donations poured in from far and wide. 

The vigil and mass come after Gardaí issued a fresh appeal yesterday for witnesses, as the investigation into Bruna’s death is ongoing.

The Brazilian native was found unresponsive in a flat on Liberty Street in Cork City on New Years Day and was pronounced dead shortly after.

In their latest statement, Gardaí have appealed for witnesses that were on Liberty Street, either on foot or in a car, between 4.30am and 6.30am on New Years Day.

A man, Miller Pacheco, aged in his 20s, has since been charged with her murder.

He appeared before a special sitting of Cork District Court on 2 January.

Gardaí have asked that any witnesses contact Bridewell Garda Station, Cork City, on (021) 4943330, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda station.