Northern Ireland news

Jim Donegan funeral hears call for 'no retaliation'

Relatives at the funeral of murder victim Jim Donegan in west Belfast today. Picture by Mal McCann
Liz Trainor

A PRIEST at the funeral of murder victim Jim Donegan has told of the family's appeal for no retaliation in the wake of the brutal murder last week.

Fr Martin Magill told mourners who gathered for Requiem Mass at St John's Church in west Belfast today that the family's only wish was "justice for Jim".

The 43-year-old was shot dead by a lone gunman as he waited in his red Porsche to collect his son from St Mary's Grammar school on Glen Road in the west of the city last week.

The father-of-two was hit up to eight times in the head and body and died instantly.

Police have released CCTV footage showing his killer in a high-vis jacket approaching the car and fleeing the scene. 

Murder victim Jim 'JD' Donegan with his wife Laura

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Describing the murder as "brutal and callous" Fr Magill told mourners that the Donegan family was "suffering" but wanted no-one else to endure what they were going through.

"We are truly heartbroken by Jim being taken away from us in such a cruel, cold way but we wish for no retaliation, only justice for Jim.

"Those words come from Jim’s family as they prepared for this Requiem Mass," Fr Magill said.

Jim Donegan was shot dead as he picked up his son outside school on December 4.

"They are heartfelt and sincere. Jim’s family were plunged into the depths of grief by his murder... They have known and know the anguish wrought upon them by the individual who killed Jim. Yet in the depths of their pain they are very clear - they want no one else to suffer as they have suffered and are suffering and will continue to suffer."

Describing how his family remembered him as "a gentleman, full of charm and laughter, with a big heart who was keen to protect" them, Fr Magill told of their anguish and how some members learned about the murder through social media with photos of Mr Donegan's car circulating a short time after the attack.

Jim Donegan was shot dead as he sat at the wheel of his £80,000 sports car.

"Last Tuesday afternoon Jim Donegan went to collect his son from school, an ordinary and everyday event in the lives of so many parents," he said.

"His murder in any circumstances was wrong but even more so in the presence of children who were nearby and witnessed the traumatic scene, one that will stay with them for the rest of their lives."

He also told of the support the family received in the wake of the murder and how they had "found great comfort and deeply appreciated the compassion and sensitivity from those on the scene - the members of the public who stopped to help, teachers from St Mary’s and CBS as well as the paramedics". 

"Then there were the young people, the pupils of St Mary’s, the friends of Jim’s son who kept him away from the scene of his father’s murder. I commend their quick thinking and sensitivity. These acts of human goodness give us hope and my prayer is that God will touch other hearts to reach out to you as a family at this time."

Following Requiem Mass Mr Donegan's remains were taken to Roselawn Crematorium for a service.

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