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Belfast murder victim Joe Reilly would want you to look to the future, mourners told

By Luke Barnes

Published 27/10/2016

Family and friends attending the funeral of murdered man Joe Reilly in Poleglass, west Belfast
Family and friends attending the funeral of murdered man Joe Reilly in Poleglass, west Belfast
Joe Reilly

Family and friends of Joe Reilly said a final farewell at his funeral yesterday.

The service for the 43-year-old murder victim was held at the Church of the Nativity in Poleglass, west Belfast.

Dozens of relatives, friends and residents attended the Requiem Mass, which was presided over by Fr Pat Sheehan.

Fr Sheehan asked the congregation to keep Mr Reilly's parents in their thoughts and prayers.

The priest said they would never get over the trauma of losing a child.

In his homily, he reminded the congregation how Jesus had lived in a violent society.

Fr Sheehan recalled how, in Jesus's time, the Romans were experts in breaking people and the "cold-blooded killing of people" like the manner in which Mr Reilly was murdered.

He added that Jesus's heart went out to ordinary people.

Fr Sheehan urged the congregation to pray for themselves and think about the lives of the younger generations.

He said he believed Mr Reilly would want those gathered to look to the future and leave behind the mistakes of the past.

Fr Sheehan urged people not to "waste this terrible tragedy by leaving this church as the same person".

Mr Reilly's relatives also paid tribute to the work of the first responders who battled to save his life after he was shot last Thursday.

After the service, tearful family members travelled to Roselawn Cemetery to lay Mr Reilly in his final resting place.

Mr Reilly was murdered last Thursday night.

The Republican paramilitary group Oglaigh na hEireann claimed responsibility for the punishment shooting.

Police have said dissident republicans were a line of inquiry in the investigation of who shot Mr Reilly.

He labelled Mr Reilly's murder a, "cold-blooded, summary execution of a man in his own house".

The PSNI have stepped up activity in west Belfast since the killing.

On Monday officers arrested two men and one woman in connection with dissident republican activity and seized a gun and ammunition from a house in Foxes Glen - less than a mile from the site of Mr Reilly's murder.

And on Tuesday officers searched Pembroke Loop Road for items connected to the killing.

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