Belfast Telegraph

Tributes paid at funeral of Edmund Rice who died after 'assault' in Waterford

By Ciaran Murphy

A father-of-four from Northern Ireland who died after an altercation in Tramore, Co Waterford, at the weekend was laid to rest yesterday.

Edmund Rice (54), with an address at Oak Avenue in Bellefield, Ferrybank, Co Waterford, died after he was allegedly assaulted at a taxi rank in the seaside town at about 2.15am on Saturday.

The former bouncer, who hailed from Coleraine in Co Londonderry but had been living in Waterford for a number of years, was laid to rest in St Killian's cemetery after his requiem mass at noon in the adjoining Sacred Heart Church at Ferrybank.

A 22-year-old Waterford man, charged at the District Court on Sunday with assault causing harm, has been bailed with strict conditions attached.

Before the court in the city was Niall Hewison, of the Clarinwood estate in Tramore. Mr Rice, a tour guide at the Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens in Tramore, was allegedly assaulted at Lower Strand Street and later died.

Both parties had been out socialising in Tramore in separate groups and were unknown to each other, according to gardai.

At the funeral mass yesterday, Fr Ray Dempsey said: "With heavy hearts and in great sadness, we gather to say farewell to Edmund today.

"Of course, our prayer too today, is also very much for you, Edmund's grieving family, at this time. Words fail all of us at this time and words, indeed, seem very inadequate for you as we cope with the shock of Edmund's passing.

"But what our words cannot express... our solidarity and our support and our prayers today as we join with you."

He explained how Edmund made Waterford his home, despite relocating to Derry for eight years with wife Anne before returning to the south east city.

He is also survived by his children, Joanne, Fiona, Rachel and Ciaran, in addition to brothers Raymond and Vincent, along with sisters, Marian and Joan. He is pre-deceased by his parents, Vincent Snr and Bernadette.

Son Ciaran delivered his eulogy before the mass yesterday, describing a much-loved father who shared his love of horse racing and music.

The offertory gifts included an abstract painting of Edmund's, a Leeds FC scarf and jersey, and guitar.

A picture of Edmund at his conferring from his tourism studies degree at WIT was also a cherished gift yesterday.

Many at the packed church in Ferrybank, spoke with fondness about a popular and loved member of the community. Their presence at the family home on Monday evening demonstrated his popularity in the local community.

Gardai at Tramore are viewing CCTV footage in order to help establish the facts of the case.

The area was cordoned off on Saturday and interviews carried out.

The case was adjourned to a sitting of the court on July 25.

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