We'll help O'Driscoll clan through darkest hour, priest tells boys' funerals
A COMMUNITY left heartbroken by a tragic murder-suicide has vowed to support devastated parents Thomas and Helen O'Driscoll who lost their three sons.
The vow from Fr Tom Naughton came as emotional scenes marked the combined funeral today of Jonathan O'Driscoll (21) and his twin brothers, Patrick 'Paddy' and Thomas 'TomTom' O'Driscoll (9).
The twins died from multiple stab wounds sustained in separate attacks in two different rooms at the family's home at Deerpark, Charleville on the Cork-Limerick road last Thursday.
The boys only made their First Holy Communion a few months ago - and today they were buried in the suits bought for that occasion.
Jonathan (21) was discovered dead in woodland just outside Buttevant, some 15km away, less than one hour after the bodies of his dead brothers were found. He had taken his own life.
A caravan, which the parents bought for the twins on the day of their murder, was bought to the church pulled by a miniature shetland pony.
It was covered by photographs of the twins and drawings made by them.
Inside the church, the twins coffin are flanking that of their elderly brother, Jonathan. Hundreds today attended the requiem mass of the three brothers who were laid out before the altar of Charleville's Church of the Holy Cross in matching white coffins.
Fr Naughton told mourners that the tightknit community would now stand by its own.
"This is a good community, a strong community and every heart here goes out to Thomas and Helen at this dark time," he said.
Fr Naughton said that the couple's strong faith had supported them over the past few difficult days.
But he said the people of Charleville and its surrounding areas would support the O'Driscoll family in the difficult days ahead.
"There are no words to describe this. It is something absolutely unimaginable. But everyone in this community will now do what they can to help this family in their dark hour."
Fr Naughton has prayed with the O'Driscoll family every day since the triple tragedy occurred last Thursday.
The three coffins had been brought to the Church of the Holy Cross by a circuitous route so that the hearses could stop outside the family home for special prayers by Thomas and Helen O'Driscoll and their immediate family.
The three white coffins were surrounded on the altar by a montage of flowers.
One wreath was in the shape of a red race car with 'No 9' and the names 'Tommy' and 'Paddy' written on its side.
Other wreaths reflected the twins love of horses.
As a mark of respect, a number of premises in Charleville briefly closed their doors as the funeral cortege passed.
The twins were buried side-by-side in Charleville cemetery while Jonathan was buried with his maternal grandparents in Kilmallock, Co Limerick.
The Bishop of Cloyne, Dr William Crean, urged people to pray for the family and their friends.
"Such loss of human life is extremely difficult to comprehend.
"I pray that the Lord will strengthen the family during this terrible time," Dr Crean said.
"I also ask the priests and people of the diocese to pray for Thomas and Helen, for their surviving children, their extended family, and for the community of Charleville."
A special guard of honour was provided by Banogue national school where the twins were popular third class students.
Principal Sheila Cagney said the school will now do everything it can to help the family and the twins' friends.
"Our sympathy and thoughts are with the family and friends at this terrible time.
"We will help the children to the best of our ability," she added.