Wednesday 26 October 2016

Father's sad farewell as 'handsome, loving' Kenneth is laid to rest

Kenneth O’Brien’s coffin is carried from the church in Ballyfermot (Collins)
Kenneth O’Brien’s coffin is carried from the church in Ballyfermot (Collins)
Kenneth O'Brien

The family of murder victim Kenneth O'Brien told mourners they are grateful to lay their son to rest after his cruel murder.

More than 300 mourners gathered at St Matthew's Church, in Ballyfermot, Dublin, to remember the father-of-one, who was described as a "strikingly big, handsome man" who "could be a bit of a prankster".

Chief mourners at Mr O'Brien's funeral were his partner of 15-years Eimear and their son Charlie (4), parents Gerry and Susan, and siblings Lee and Jamie.

Mr O'Brien's torso was found in a suitcase in the Grand Canal at Ardclough, Co Kildare, almost three weeks ago on January 16.

Additional body parts were found in the canal after two weeks of extensive searches.

He was murdered just weeks after returning to Dublin in December from a three-year stay in Australia to start a new life with his family.

Parish priest Fr Joseph McDonald read a tribute, written by Mr O'Brien's father Gerry, on behalf of the family at the service yesterday.

The victim's father said that Kenneth's tragic murder has "affected all of us in the worst possible way".

"The sudden loss of Kenneth and the circumstances surrounding his death are more than any parents, partner, son, family, friends of anyone should ever have to endure.

"We are so grateful to be in a position to be able to put our son to rest peacefully. We understand this has not always been the outcome in these situations.

"As a family, we have comfort in knowing that Kenneth died knowing he was loved and he loved us.

"Our Kenneth was an intelligent, handsome, loving man and although we have lost him at this early stage of his life, all of us are thankful that he's been here for the past 33 years.

"We feel so privileged to be able to say Kenneth was our son. Precious Kenneth… we are all so proud of you. We all love you now, always have and will forever."


Gerry O'Brien said the family are thankful for the support they have received from the gardai and public.

He said there has been an "outpouring of support and comfort" from family, friends, work colleagues and strangers over the past three weeks.

Two symbols of the tragic JCB driver were brought to the altar by his partner and son - a photo of Charlie in his dad's digger and a baseball cap.

A simple floral tribute to 'Dad', a bouquet in the shape of a digger, and family pictures - including Kenneth's beloved German Shepherd, Jake - were also laid out in his honour.

Little Charlie brought tears to mourners eyes when he cried out for his "da-da" as Kenneth's remains were taken from the church to Newlands Cross Cemetery for burial.

Fr McDonald told mourners gathered that Mr O'Brien's death was "cruel" and described the aftermath as "disrespectful".

"No one deserves such a death. His death goes against our core belief that every life is sacred. His death offends God," he said. "We're very mindful of those who love and continue to love Kenneth.

"He should not have been defined by his death, but by his living."

He added that Kenneth was a "friend for life" and that it was important to give the 33-year-old the "dignity and honour he deserves".

"He had a love for cars and bikes and anything electronic. He had a great thirst for learning, for knowledge, to know more. His skills were beyond his years.

"Once you were in, you were guaranteed a friendship for life. Let's remember his gift of friendship."


Gardai are continuing their investigation into the murder of Mr O'Brien, and senior officers say they are following an extensive line of inquiry.

Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin, of the Kildare Division, previously said he was satisfied with progress of the investigation.

"We have a very large number of detectives from Kildare division, supported by both national and regional units, working hand-in-hand, and it is our determination to bring the perpetrators of this brutal murder to justice and before the courts," he said.

"We will treat every iota of information that we receive with the strictest of confidence."

He added that previous murders of a similar nature were also being reviewed.

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