Belfast Telegraph

Murdered Belfast barman Joe O'Neill is laid to rest

By Lisa Smyth

The wife of murdered Joe O'Neill - who died last week after he was attacked in Belfast city centre - said a tearful goodbye to her husband with a kiss on his coffin.

Devastated Maura O'Neill made the heartbreaking gesture at the funeral of her 60-year-old husband - known as Wee Scotch Joe - on Saturday.

He was laid to rest following a service at St Michael's Church in west Belfast.

Originally from Scotland, Mr O'Neill had been living in the Brooke Park area of west Belfast for 20 years.

Mr O'Neill died last Monday after sustaining multiple head injuries during an assault shortly after finishing his shift at a city centre bar.

Police said Mr O'Neill was involved in an altercation with two men before he was assaulted on his way home from his job at Cosgrove's Bar.

A 34-year-old man was arrested on Sunday and charged with grievous bodily harm in connection with the incident and is due to appear before court next month.

Paying tribute to Mr O'Neill, his brother-in-law, Brian Smith, said: "The words 'true gentleman' just about sum up Joe."

Mr Smith added that Mr O'Neill's "sudden and tragic death has left a huge void in our family and community".

Last Tuesday, dozens of people braved the driving rain to hold a vigil for Mr O'Neill, founder and chairman of the Falls Road Emerald Celtic Supporters Club.

Jimmy Rooney, who knew Mr O'Neill through the club, also described him as "a gentleman".

He said: "He didn't deserve this. His family are devastated."

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