Tribute paid at funeral of Catholic murder victim

The Irish Times—09 July 2001


By Michael Bradley, in Belfast

The name Ciaran Cummings will soon be forgotten by all but the friends and family of the 19-year-old shot dead in Antrim last Wednesday, the Bishop of Down and Connor, Dr Patrick Walsh, told mourners at his funeral on Saturday.

While Ciaran would become another statistic "in the long list of the victims of violence", he would always be remembered by those close to him. The bishop paid tribute to the cross-community sympathy and support the Cummings family had received since Ciaran's death.

Hundreds of people accompanied the removal of Mr Cummings's body from his home to St Joseph's Church, Antrim, where Requiem Mass was celebrated. The funeral cortege later paused briefly at Greystone roundabout where mourners had placed flowers, cards and football scarves. The burial was in Belmont Cemetery.

Mr Cummings was shot dead as he waited at the roundabout near his home for a lift to work on Wednesday morning. Two loyalist groups, the Red Hand Defenders and the Orange Volunteers, have claimed responsibility for the murder.

"When Ciaran left home early on Wednesday morning for his day's work, he could not have known that he was leaving home for the last time or that by midday his name would be on radio news bulletins, and by evening and the next morning in every newspaper," Bishop Walsh told the congregation.

"For a few days his name has been well known and on the lips of so many people, but after this weekend his name will soon be forgotten and Ciaran will be simply another statistic, yet another bare statistic, in the long list of victims of violence."

The bishop said Ciaran would not be forgotten by his mother, Kathleen, his father, family or girlfriend. "For you he will never be a mere statistic. He will be a name, Ciaran, your son, your brother, your boyfriend."

Commenting on community relations in the Greystone estate where the Cummingses live, the bishop said the fact that no flags were displayed in the area was "so unusual as to be almost unique".

"You, Kathleen, spoke to me in very warm and appreciative terms of these good relationships in the estate and of the genuine sympathy and support which your family were receiving from all your neighbours."

Calling Ciaran's killing "despicable", the bishop said there could be no greater crime than the murder of a fellow human being. The Cummings family carried deep and raw wounds, he said.

"Those wounds will be healed by the goodness of your neighbours and of your parish community, with your parish priest, Father Murray, but above all you will be healed as you come closer to Jesus Christ, who loves you at this moment with his unbounded compassion and love and who has called Ciaran to himself to live in that love for eternity."


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