Kenneth O'Brien funeral: Simple floral tribute to 'dad' and 'a lot of broken hearts'
Mourners gathered on Wednesday afternoon to pay their respects to murder victim Kenneth O'Brien who was described as a "strikingly big, handsome man" who "could be a bit of a prankster".
Chief mourners at the funeral, in the father-of-one's native Ballyfermot, were his partner Eimear and their little son Charlie, parents Gerry and Susan, siblings Lee and Janine.
Mr O'Brien had just returned from Australia in December to begin a new life with his family in Dublin.
Just weeks later his torso was found in a suitcase in the Grand Canal at Ardclough, Co Kildare on January 16.
The 33-year-old had no involvement in crime, but sources said that the killing and disposal of his remains was carried out by experienced criminals.
Additional body parts were then found in the Grand Canal near Sallins, Co Kildare.
Today, Mr O'Brien was remembered fondly a a man who was quiet and reserved.
Parish priest Fr Joseph McDonald said that it was a “very sad occasion”.
“It is a sad day, there are a lot of broken hearts,” he said.
“We’re very mindful of those who love and continue to love Kenneth.”
Fr McDonald welcomed all the family by name as over 300 people gathered.
“I couldn’t believe there was such a crowd at the house,” he said.
Two symbols of the tragic JCB driver were brought to the altar by his partner and son - a photo of Charlie in his dad’s digger and a baseball cap.
A simple floral tribute to ‘dad’ and a bouquet in the shape of a digger were also laid out in honour of Mr O'Brien.
“He had a love for cars and bikes and anything electronic,” Fr McDonald told the hundreds of mourners in the church.
“He had a great thirst for learning, for knowledge, to know more.
“His skills were beyond his years.
“The importance of today is to give him the dignity and honour he deserves.”
Fr McDonald said that Eimear and Kenneth had been together 15 years. Mr O’Brien was a “friend for life”.
“Once you were in you were guaranteed a friendship for life,” the parish priest said.
“Let’s remember his gift of friendship.”
Fr McDonald said that the funeral was not to focus on the 33-year-old’s death, but his life.
“He should not have been defined by his death, but by his living,” he said.
“It was a cruel death and a disrespectful aftermath. No one deserves such a death. His death goes against our core belief that every life is sacred.
“His death offends God.”