A call for an end to violence has been made at the funeral of Odhrán Kelly in Lurgan, the third murder victim in the Co Armagh town over the last year.
Mourners at the funeral mass in St Peter’s Church heard that the charismatic and popular 23-year-old had been due to start his new job as a healthcare assistant on Monday.
His body was found beside a burning car near Edward Street last Sunday, where hundreds of those shocked by his death gathered for a vigil days later.
Police have since charged Gary Damien Scullion (31) from Edward Street with the murder, while two women were also charged with assisting an offender.
Mr Kelly’s death follows the fatal stabbing of mum-to-be Natalie McNally (32) on December 18 last year and the shooting of father-of-four Shane Whitla (29) on January 12.
On Sunday, Mr Kelly’s mother Jacqueline and brother Paul were supported by their family and friends before his burial in St Colman’s Cemetery.
“We gather for another funeral of another victim of another episode of violence here in our town of Lurgan,” parish priest Father Colum Wright told mourners.
“Odhrán is the third person here in Lurgan to be robbed of their young and valued lives in the last 12 months,” he said.
“Odhrán should be alive and should be planning for Christmas. Too many like him are in early graves, robbed of their lives of violence – unnecessary violence that brings just not the end of lives, but the beginning of endless loss and misery…for family, friends and communities.”
With the community standing against his “unfair death,” he said: “Odhrán was a young man whose adulthood had really just begun. He’d lost his daddy (Paul) at a young age and he was the light and the love of his family.”
Remembered as the charismastic “child of the house,” Fr Wright said Mr Kelly’s mother had told him at the house: ‘My son’s body is lying there in that coffin. My son, who I carried and nurtured in my womb for nine months, is now lying in that coffin.’”
Sharing his condolences for the family’s “unbelievable loss,” he said: “All of us know that your hearts are broken.”
Later in the service, the young victim’s close friend Jessica also delivered an emotional tribute.
“Our beautiful Odhrán. It’s so hard to summarise someone as wonderful as Odhrán because there is simply not enough words to describe what an amazing person he was,” she said.
“The presence of people here today show the impact that Odhrán had on other peoples’ lives. He was loved immensely by his family and friends and we will forever keep on loving him.”
She remembered him as a kind and caring friend who could make her laugh until her ribs were sore.
“Odhrán had the most brilliant laugh and everyone here will know just the laugh I’m talking about…and I know that he’s up there laughing at us now saying ‘oh I’m scundered.’
“When you were with Odhrán there was never a dull moment or a moment of silence, as we all know Odhran could have talked the legs off a table.”
She added: “Odhrán, if you’re listening we want you to know that we love you more than you will ever know.”
Promising to support his mother and brother, she said: “You were the most wonderful friend to have and forever wouldn’t have been long enough with you. Rest in peace Odhrán, we love you.”