NewsCrime Desk

Tears for dad of three brutally beaten to death

Family of Dermot Byrne
Family of Dermot Byrne

A DAD-OF-THREE battered to death in the street has been laid to rest – remembered as a kind, hard-working person who put others first.

Dermot Byrne (56) was attacked on July 16 as he made his way home in Swords after a night out.

His body was found by a passer- by, and although emergency crews battled to save his life, his injuries were too grave.

Yesterday mourners packed St Colmcille’s Church in his home town to say their goodbyes.

There were so many that crowds gathered in the car park when the church filled up to listen to the service on loudspeakers.


As Dermot’s coffin was brought in behind a lone piper, a walking guard of honour was formed on each side of the hearse by members of the Irish Blackball Association and St Colmcille’s GAA Club.

Mementos at the altar included his pool cue, cigarettes and Zippo lighter, brought by his daughter Shawna; a Dublin jersey and match tickets presented by his daughter Emma, and some of his favourite CDs – including the music of David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and Aslan, brought by his daughter Rebecca.

Fr Paul Thornton told the mourners that what everyone woke up to on July 16 was news of “a brutal and callous killing that left a man dead on the streets of our town”.

“This act of violence doesn’t just affect us today, it’s part of the viciousness that eats away at the fabric of our society and removes from us that which we value – respect for one another, and the freedom to be able to walk through our town without fear,” he said.

Dermot worked in a bicycle sales and distribution company with his brothers.

He was described as caring, a man who would do anything for people if they were stuck.

“He put others before himself,” said Fr Thornton.

There were smiles amid the tears too, when Fr Thornton told how Dermot could give celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay a run for his money.

Daughter Shawna spoke emotionally at the end of the Mass, and how at her 21st when she was just about to blow the candles out on her cake her dad could not be found.

Then after a brief search he was discovered downstairs playing pool.

“When we told him to come up he actually turned around and said ‘can I finish this game first?’,” Shawna said with a smile.

Dermot’s brother Paul also spoke with emotion about the family’s love for him and expressed their gratitude to the emergency services and gardai.

He had his own memories of Dermot as a child and growing up and how Dermot would look out for his younger brother.

After Mass Dermot’s remains were taken to Dardistown Cemetery for burial. One man has been arrested and charged with his murder and is before the courts.