Radio review: Joe Duffy draws clear lines and balance

Nuala McCann

Liveline RTÉ Radio 1

It felt like there were no other stories in Ireland last week.

Two years ago, the then Archbishop of Dublin said Catholic churches would not be used by gangland criminals to glorify them at their funerals, said Liveline presenter Joe Duffy.

But the funerals of three young men who had a ream of convictions between them did glorify them.

The three were driving the wrong way down a motorway and crashed into a truck, then the car burst into flames.

At the funeral of one of the men, Dean Maguire, a crowd burst into the church ignoring number restrictions.

Among the items brought to the altar was a screwdriver and a torch – tools of Maguire’s trade.

There was also a banner on the altar with a poem that was his call sign:

“You know the score

Get on the floor

Don’t be funny

Show me the money.”

A priest who was in the church trying to regulate numbers called it “the most disturbing liturgy” he has ever been at.

Duffy drew clear lines and balance.

He reminded his audience that there were three families grieving these three young men – Dean Maguire, Graham Taylor and Carl Freeman.

“Nobody deserves to die,” he said.

However these were three men who were openly criminals and their funerals gloried in their criminality and, he pointed out, they had so many followers.

He also read out victims’ statements and the impact violent burglaries carried out by the men had.

They included one woman who was very ill when Freeman broke into her home late at night and made her get out of bed.

“I have two bags draining my kidneys and I was so afraid,” she said.

The trauma of a break-in is extraordinary, said Duffy, whose own mother had been through that experience.

A priest who was in attendance at Friday’s funeral said he rang the Garda but was told that their presence would only inflame the situation and unless something happened, it would be best that they were not present.

Liveline led the way on this one.

The story moved on with an aunt of Dean Maguire who wanted to speak out.

Dean was from a respectable family and had a lovely wife and children, she said.

“I’m well aware Dean did crime. He’s done his time for his crime,” she said.

She did not know what the banner or the screwdriver and torch meant.

“Crime is widespread,” she said and the ultimate judge is God and, in the end, she added: “Blood is thicker than water.”

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