“There’s nothing glamorous or glittery about death – the person is in a box, dead,” says the priest at the funeral of a gang-murder victim


A Finglas parish priest, who said the funeral service for Dublin’s latest gangland shooting victim, said he had seen so many killings that he had exhausted all his words and wanted to cry out.

Former James “Whela” Whelan, 29, was gunned down on Deanstown Avenue last Sunday.

Gardaí believe his murder is linked to a feud between rival gangs.

Speaking at the Requiem Mass at Oliver Plunkett Church in Finglas today, Father Seamus Aherne said he wished the sanctions imposed on the Kinahan cartel could extend to “the whole plethora of drug suppliers everywhere”.

“I don’t care what clan they belong to or who they are. You are a vicious deadly virus for our young people.

“Your money is sick and toxic. They are grotesque and poison our beautiful world and our wonderful people.

“The bullies behind this brutality on James are sick, sad and stupid. They are flawed people. They devalue humanity. There is no justification. Gunslingers are cowards. There can be no tolerance for such corruption and evil,” he added.

The funeral procession arrived at the church to the sound of motorcycle engines revved up to the limit, a sound that continued outside throughout the service.

Symbols brought to the altar were a motorcycle helmet, a barbell, Whelan’s dog leash, a sweater, aftershave and a photo of Whelan with his son Parker, 7.

He is survived by his mother Sonya, fathers James and David, brother Sean, sister Tori, partner Jean, son Parker, grandparents and a large circle of relatives and friends.

During his homily, Father Ahearne expressed his frustration at what appears to be an ongoing cycle of death in his 25 years at Rivermount Church.

“The people in our community are wonderful. The banter, the fun, the camaraderie, the friendliness, the humor. I can’t bear to see anything or anyone hurting our people.

“But I’ve also been involved in too many funerals for young people in this place. Too many murders. The sheer horror of it is overwhelming.

“I have exhausted all words that could express the anger, the pain, the pain, the wrongness of it. i want to scream I do,” he said.

“I sometimes see the big big Gaisce, a show put on for a funeral. There is a big farewell and the youngsters come together. But here’s the fact. The person is in a box. Is dead. Will not lead a new life. Doesn’t get old. He will not raise a family. Will not contribute to society. Will not add to the taste and laughter of a community. no death is death Death is never glamorous or glittery.

“Young James is in his coffin. He looks like a teenager. Really a kid. I know he’s almost 30. But that’s what he looks like. Nothing can add glamor to this occasion.

“Some of you had your own rituals. A shrine. Flower. Announcements. Cycles. However. The fact is that a young man wasted on the orders of a pathetic gangster. A life has been destroyed. No one has the right to ever take their own life,” he added.

Father Ahearne shared how James Whelan’s mother, Sonya, reminded him of her thoughts about her son.

“She longs for calm, dignity and respect around her child. She is annoyed. She cries – even to God.

“She doesn’t want all the noise. This is how she remembers life with James. He was torture. The curse of her life. She spent all her years worrying about him and what he was doing and who he was dealing with. What had he done now? Where was he? Those thoughts echoed in her head every day of his life. Her prayer was deep and rich.

“He had a big heart. He was a terror. He was soft. He would give anything to anyone and liked the image of being a Robin Hood-type character,” he said, adding that a young Whelan brought all kinds of strays into the house, even a horse at one point.

“He was meticulous about his food, his clothes, his shampoo, his aftershave. He loved his bikes, his cars, his dog and of course his clothes. Money. Designer was made for him. He loved Jean. He loved Parker. But he mixed with strange people and got involved in bad things,” he said.

Father Ahearne brought the Russian invasion of Ukraine into the sermon and said no tyrant has the right to take over a country and destroy lives and homes. There was no noble reason to create a refugee crisis for millions.

“It is interesting that much of the world has united on sanctions against Russia’s elite and against the oligarchs. And now we hear that sanctions have been imposed on the Kinahan cartel. Now I wish all of these sanctions could extend to the full plethora of suppliers everywhere. I don’t care what clan they belong to or who they are. You are a vicious deadly virus for our young people.

“This happened here on April 3rd. I’ve spent much of my life helping parents and families cope with the devastation of drugs and alcohol. The drug addict’s horrible drawl. The devastated faces. The empty lives. Everyone is a victim. The entire society is criminalized by its dependency. Who creates this world? dirty money. Rotten designer goods. It’s all very sick,” he said.

At the end of the Mass, James’ father urged James that his son’s death was the end and that there was no more, for the good of all young people and for young Parker.

Whelan’s sister-in-law, Vennesa, also spoke, sharing stories of his life and love for his family.

After the funeral, friends of Whelan performed burnouts and wheelies on scrambler and sport bikes in front of the church, shredding their rear tires and leaving clouds of smoke and black smudges on the ground.

The horse-drawn carriage carrying his coffin then drove to Dardistown Cemetery for the burial. “There’s nothing glamorous or glittery about death – the person is in a box, dead,” says the priest at the funeral of a gang-murder victim

Fry Electronics Team

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