Northern Ireland news

Priest at funeral of father-of-two shot in Warrenpoint condemns violence

Warrenpoint shooting victim Wayne Boylan, left, whose funeral took place on Wednesday. Alice Louise Burns, right, was seriously injured in the attack
By Mairead Holland

A PRIEST at the funeral of Warrenpoint murder victim Wayne Boylan said cruel violence had robbed a family of a father and a friend and a young man had been "sent to an early grave".

Mr Boylan (37) died after being shot in the head by two masked men who burst into his home on the Lower Dromore Road in the town on Friday evening.

He died at the scene in the attack which is believed to have been drug-related.

A 21-year-old woman, Alice Louise Burns, was critically injured.

Canon John Kearney told the congregation at St Peter's Church that too many people were waking "to face a day of emptiness in the wake of violence which has gatecrashed the life of this community".

He said the murder had brought memories rushing back of the seventies and eighties "when we did not have enough days in any year to accommodate those who had died with their own anniversaries".

"Sadly violence grows wild here, because we have unwittingly given it a fertile soil. For too long we have sat around our camp fires and traded myths. We have told fiction as fact, rumour as truth and doubt as dogma. Our defiant drumbeats have dulled our ears and we can't hear the endless cry for peace," he said.

The funeral of Wayne Boylan makes its way to St Peter's Church, Warrenpoint

Canon Kearney reflected that there was something "pathetically pitiful" when any man decided to end a human life "completely out of season".

"Wayne loved life, he made many friends and his passing will be a great sadness for many people," he said.

Canon Kearney said life had not been easy for Mr Boylan - he lost his father when he was a small child, his mother Shirley died five years ago, his brother Peter died when Mr Boylan was a teenager and he also lost his sister Helen 11 years ago.

"All the memories we have of Wayne will persevere but they will not take away the pain of loss nor will they fill the empty space created by his death," he said.

Canon Kearney also prayed that Ms Burns would make a good recovery.

Mr Boylan's children, Niamh and Henry, who the priest said "meant the world to him", carried symbols of their father's life to the altar.

The father of Mr Boylan's partner Saoirse paid tribute to the father-of-two saying he had "won the heart of my daughter Saoirse and he has brought two beautiful children into the world".

"He is up there in the stars," he added.

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