No retaliation, only justice: Family appeal at funeral for murdered Jim Donegan
The family of Jim 'JD' Donegan have appealed for "no retaliation, only justice" for the father of two who was gunned down outside a Belfast school.
"We are truly heartbroken by Jim being taken away from us in such a cruel, cold way but we wish for no retaliation, only justice for Jim," the family said ahead of the funeral service.
Mourners gathered for the funeral of the 43-year-old on Thursday. They heard how some members of his family found out about the death through social media.
Addressing the congregation at the Requiem Mass in St John the Evangelist Church on the Falls Road, Fr Martin Magill said while his family were heartbroken at the loss.
He also said speculation Mr Donegan was involved in the drug trade had "added to the family pain".
Jim 'JD' Donegan was shot eight times while waiting for his 13-year-old son outside of St Mary's Christian Brothers School on the Glen Road on Tuesday, December 4. Hundred of school children witnessed the brutal attack, police said, although his son was spared.
"They have known and know the anguish wrought upon them by the individual who killed Jim," said Fr Magill.
"Yet in the depths of their pain they are very clear - they want no one else to suffer as they have suffered and are suffering and will continue to suffer."
Fr Magill said that while the focus of the pain was on the "brutal and callous way in which Jim was murdered", it was added to by the fact that "within a very short time of his murder photos of JD’s car were already circulating in social media".
Referring to "speculation and allegations made in some papers", Fr Magill said: "I know that Jim’s wife Laura has spoken out clearly to deny what was written."
"Last Tuesday afternoon Jim Donegan went to collect his son from school, an ordinary and everyday event in the lives of so many parents. His murder in any circumstances was wrong but even more so in the presence of children who were nearby and witnessed the traumatic scene, one that will stay with them for the rest of their lives," Fr Magill said.
Mr Donegan is also being remembered at another service at Roselawn crematorium after the burial.
He ran a courier firm and lived in Lisburn with his wife Laura. She has defended her late husband after reports linking Mr Donegan to the illegal drug trade began to emerge.
- 'Chilling' CCTV footage shows Jim Donegan killer 'casually' cross road with kids moments before brutal murder
Police are investigating a dissident republican link to the death as the main line of enquiry. They believe the gunman had killed before.
CCTV footage of the murder scene shows an assassin wearing a hi-vis jacket fleeing the area. The word 'security' was printed on the back of the jacket.
Police have appealed for anyone with information on Mr Donegan's murder can contact police on the non-emergency 101 number.
Belfast Telegraph Digital