Priest calls for more rural gardai after tragic death of burglary victim John O'Donoghue (62)
A man who collapsed and died after thieves ransacked his home "did not deserve for his life to end", the priest at his funeral told mourners.
Fr Tony Ryan appealed to the Government to increase policing in rural Ireland before John O'Donoghue (62) was laid to rest.
Mr O'Donoghue suffered a massive heart attack after discovering intruders at his home, at Upper Toomaline, Co Limerick, last Thursday afternoon.
Fr Ryan said the carpenter's death has raised national awareness of the fear that elderly people are experiencing in rural communities.
"John, your passing was in tragic circumstances but you did not die in vain," he told mourners in St Patrick's Church in Doon, Co Limerick
"I feel there is a growing awareness of that need to watch out for each other, and perhaps our politicians will see to increasing a garda presence in rural Ireland again to reassure all who feel so alone and vulnerable.
"There are many people living in fear who are on their own, and we must reach out to them and keep in touch as best we can.
"Everybody is saddened and upset at his tragic, unexpected and sudden death of John.
"He did not deserve for his life to end on Thursday afternoon, under those awful circumstances as he collapsed in shock and died."
Among the mourners was Mr O'Donoghue's sister, Christina, a retired nurse who was with him when he died.
"Even the tears fell from the skies as the heavens opened with torrential rain falling for about 30 minutes while John was departing this world," said Fr Ryan, who had administered the last rites to Mr O'Donoghue.
"And there beside John was his sister, Christina, comforting and assisting and then coming to terms with the sad reality, that because intruders had invaded the sanctity of their beautiful home and were causing such disruption within, John was dying as a result of a massive heart attack."
Mr O'Donoghue, who was described as a "quiet, inoffensive, and unobtrusive gentleman", is also survived by his other sisters, Mary and Sheila, and his brother, Seamus.
Two men appeared before Limerick District Court last Saturday charged with entering Mr O'Donoghue's home as trespassers and stealing a lady's gold watch valued at €200 plus £30 sterling.