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Mistaken Identity

"He was in the wrong place, but he was on the right path" - Martin O'Rourke laid to rest

The father of three was shot on Dublin’s Sheriff Street last week.


IN A SMALL church on Halston Street, at the heart of Dublin’s fruit and vegetable market district, the friends and family of Martin O’Rourke gathered to say goodbye.

Martin was gunned down on the street outside a pub last Thursday, the latest victim in a spiralling gangland feud that shows no sign of stopping.

Martin was a father of three, a fiancée, a brother and a member of the Traveller Community. However, he was not the man his shooter was looking for.

22/4/2016. Martin O'Rourke Funeral. Ms. Angelina P Angelina Power, the partner of gangland shooting victim Martin O'Rourke, kisses his photograph on the side of the hearse after the funeral service in Halston St church in Dublin Eamonn Farrell Eamonn Farrell

Outside Noctor’s pub on Sheriff Street, Martin’s killer was looking for someone else, but he found Martin instead.

Martin, who was homeless and who had battled drug addiction throughout his life, was not involved in gangland crime. He was, as the chief celebrant of the funeral, Fr Derek Farrell put it, simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“But in the years ahead it will be important for his children to know that while he may have been at the wrong place, he was also on the right path,” said Fr Farrell.

22/4/2016. Martin O'Rourke Funeral. Pictured at th

Martin was a good man, said Fr Farrell, and was on the road to recovery.

He had just returned to education and was about to enroll in a drug rehabilitation programme which would have led to a back to work course and a job.

Martin, the priest said, had realised he needed to be there for his children when his father-in-law Larry told him:

Any man can be a father, it takes a real man to be a daddy.

Martin, he added, was on the road to becoming the “proper daddy” that his children needed.

download (5) Martin O'Rourke


Before the service began, family and friends gathered around the closed casket – upon which sat two pictures of a smiling Martin.

People kissed the photographs and lay their heads on the casket as the LeaAnn Rimes song How Do I Live was sung.

One woman was inconsolable, weeping and holding onto the casket.

About a hundred people attended the ceremony, which was presided over by Fr Farrell – who is the parish priest of the Travelling People.

The homelessness campaigner Fr Peter McVerry, who knew Martin, was there as concelebrant.

20160422_121519 Fr Peter McVerry leaving the service

Fr McVerry had called Martin a “harmless, loveable fellow” who had had a tragic life and a tragic death.

Martin’s mother and father both died while he was in his teens. As did his brother, Michael.

Martin loved his family, and the priest read out a poem that he had written for his mother after she had passed away called Heartbreak and Shock.

‘Every day I bless your picture/ It makes me feel okay, cause it feels like I’m with you/ I miss you in heart and I miss you in my soul/ I really miss you, I want to see your face/ I want to feel your love and your warm embrace

‘Where’s Daddy?’

Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny was present at the funeral – he shook hands with the family and expressed his condolences.

Fr Farrell took the opportunity of his homily to question whether Martin’s death would do anything to inspire people to bring an end to the gangland violence that had gripped Dublin city.


“Can we hope as we gather today that Martin’s tragic death may help to bring some societal and political response to countering the type of violence which took Martin’s life?” Fr Farrell asked.

He echoed what Archbishop Diarmuid Martin had said previously, about whether the people doing the killing were able to look at themselves and know guilt and humanity.

Could the repeated question of an innocent four year old child to her grieving mother, ‘Where’s Daddy?’ fail to touch even such hearts?

As the Mass ended, family and friends again hugged Martin’s casket, kissed his picture and consoled each other as the last prayers were said over his body and the casket was moved out.


Martin was carried out into a bright, sunny April day. Workers from the nearby fruit and vegetable markets watched on as his casket was laid into the back of the waiting hearse.

Wreaths of flowers saying ‘Uncle’ and ‘Father’ were laid next to the casket in the car, and people gathered in the shadow of the church for a few moments, while reporters and cameramen kept a respectful distance across the road.

O ROURKE FUNERAL 1520 90416140 Eamonn Farrell Eamonn Farrell

Kenny chatted with family members and former Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke, before it was time for everyone to go.

The talking was done, the cars packed up and the mourners followed the hearse on towards Fingal cemetery and Martin’s final resting place.

Read: Shooting victim Martin O’Rourke was ‘on his way to class’ when he was killed

Read: ‘Thousands’ raised to cover funeral costs of shooting victim Martin O’Rourke

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