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Kevin Kearney's family pay moving tribute to man 'whose smile could brighten any room'

By Sophie Inge

Published 16/11/2016

Family and friends at the funeral of Kevin Kearney at the Holy Family Church in north Belfast
Family and friends at the funeral of Kevin Kearney at the Holy Family Church in north Belfast
Mourners follow the young dad’s coffin
A tearful young boy among the mourners
Kevin Kearney

A man killed in a crash three years after his father was murdered by dissidents had a smile that would brighten any room, his funeral heard yesterday.

Kevin Kearney (27) died in tragic circumstances after his vehicle collided with a tree on York Street, north Belfast, on Friday.

Family and friends paid their final respects at a service in Holy Family Church - the same venue where the funeral of his father, who was also called Kevin, was held in 2013.

Fr Paul Morely told the people gathered: "We are saddened and shocked at the sudden tragic death of Kevin."

Offering sympathy to Kevin's mum, Janet, his partner, Katie, son Kevin Jr, step-son Corey and the wider family circle, the priest added: "The loss of a loved one is never easy. When death comes so suddenly, it is a most difficult thing to accept.

"But everybody who knew Kevin are with Kevin's family at this time. The hundreds of Mass cards and sympathy cards left for Kevin is proof of that."

Fr Morely described the young man as "a loving and caring son from an early age".

"Kevin loved his family, Katie, Corey and baby Kevin Jr," he added. "They always came first with him, and he regularly planned day trips and weekends away for them.

"Kevin loved being around his family and friends.

"Kevin was always full of fun and the life and soul of every social gathering - a real joker always full of craic and making everyone laugh."

Family and friends during the funeral of Kevin Kearney which took place at Holy Family Church in North Belfast.
Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker
Family and friends during the funeral of Kevin Kearney which took place at Holy Family Church in North Belfast. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker
Funeral of Kevin Kearney at the Holy Family Church on the Limestone Road in north Belfast. The 27-year-old died after a one vehicle RTC on the York Road in Belfast last week. Picture by William Cherry/Press Eye.
Family and friends during the funeral of Kevin Kearney which took place at Holy Family Church in North Belfast. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker
Family and friends during the funeral of Kevin Kearney which took place at Holy Family Church in North Belfast. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker
Funeral of Kevin Kearney at the Holy Family Church on the Limestone Road in north Belfast. The 27-year-old died after a one vehicle RTC on the York Road in Belfast last week. Picture by William Cherry/Press Eye.
Family and friends during the funeral of Kevin Kearney which took place at Holy Family Church in North Belfast. Picture Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker
Funeral of Kevin Kearney at the Holy Family Church on the Limestone Road in north Belfast. The 27-year-old died after a one vehicle RTC on the York Road in Belfast last week. Picture by William Cherry/Press Eye.
Funeral of Kevin Kearney at the Holy Family Church on the Limestone Road in north Belfast. The 27-year-old died after a one vehicle RTC on the York Road in Belfast last week. Picture by William Cherry/Press Eye.
Funeral of Kevin Kearney at the Holy Family Church on the Limestone Road in north Belfast. The 27-year-old died after a one vehicle RTC on the York Road in Belfast last week. Picture by William Cherry/Press Eye.
Funeral of Kevin Kearney at the Holy Family Church on the Limestone Road in north Belfast. The 27-year-old died after a one vehicle RTC on the York Road in Belfast last week. Picture by William Cherry/Press Eye.
Funeral of Kevin Kearney at the Holy Family Church on the Limestone Road in north Belfast. The 27-year-old died after a one vehicle RTC on the York Road in Belfast last week. Picture by William Cherry/Press Eye.
Funeral of Kevin Kearney at the Holy Family Church on the Limestone Road in north Belfast. The 27-year-old died after a one vehicle RTC on the York Road in Belfast last week. Picture by William Cherry/Press Eye.

Referring to the loss of his father three years ago, the priest said Kevin found it "very hard", adding that "his uncle, Martin, then became his rock".

The funeral service heard how Kevin enjoyed life to the fullest and had a smile that "would always brighten a dark room".

His memory will live on because he touched so many people, mourners were told.

After yesterday's service, Mr Kearney was buried at Milltown Cemetery.

Kevin's father was killed in October 2013, when he was 46, by the dissident republican group calling itself the IRA, in what was described by police at the time as a "callous and cold-blooded murder".

His body was found in a lake in Alexandra Park, north Belfast, after he was shot.

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