cardboard gangster | 

Video shows mourners dancing with cardboard cut-out of slain criminal James Whelan

Friends can be seen dancing and cheering as a cut-out figure of Whelan is held aloft by a man in a wheelchair

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

A video depicting a celebration of James ‘Whela’ Whelan’s life featuring a cardboard cut-out of the slain gangster has gone viral on social media.

In the wake of the violent death of the 29-year-old, who was shot dead in Dublin last week, an elaborate funeral took place in his native Finglas featuring a sax player, a pitbull dressed in a tuxedo and dancing mourners.

The spectacle was recorded for prosperity in a slick 45-minute video that was later posted on Facebook.

In more recent footage of celebrations of the young man who is believed to have been murdered as part of a feud involving the notorious Finglas-based drug-dealer Mr Flashy, friends can be seen dancing and cheering as a cut-out figure of Whelan is held aloft by a man in a wheelchair.

Father-of-one James ‘Whela’ Whelan was laid to rest in Dardistown Cemetery on Thursday following his funeral mass in his native Finglas.

The event was recorded and posted on Facebook by O'Dwyer & Sons Funeral Directors.

The video begins with aerial footage showing a temporary marquee set up near his home with people crowded outside on the streets.

James Whelan

The filming then descends to street view where dozens of bikers in high-vis yellow vests are seen revving up scrambler bikes amid clouds of smoke.

Mourners are also depicted preparing the house drawn carriage with flower displays featuring the words ‘Brother’, and ‘me mate’.

A dog in a cut-off tuxedo and black dickie bow is led on a rope while men in black top hats gather together the horses to pull the carriage.

The camera then focuses on some of the other floral arrangements with one created in the shape of a motorbike, a Rolex watch, a miniature Ferrari and a headstone surrounded by horseshoes.

A gold-plated coffin is then brought out of the house and carried aloft by several young men in black sunglasses as cheering people dance and clap hands.

As the cortege sets off, led by a man playing a saxophone, hundreds of mourners fall in behind the horse-drawn carriage.

There is film recorded of the service inside the church before the coffin is then brought back outside on its way to Dardistown Cemetery.

Other floral tributes to James 'Whela' Whelan

At the gravesite, the gold coffin is lowered into the ground as hundreds of black and white balloons are released into the sky.

Flowers are thrown in on top of the coffin as mourners spray champagne over the open grave.

The Finglas parish priest saying the funeral mass of the father-of-one had earlier referred to the “great big gaisce, a show put on for a funeral”.

At Requiem Mass in Oliver Plunkett church in Finglas, Fr Seamus Aherne told the congregation that there is nothing ever glamorous or blingy about death.

“Young James is in his coffin," Fr Aherne said. "He looks like a teenager. A child really. I know he is nearly 30. But this is how he looks. Nothing can add glamour to this occasion.

“Some of you have had your own rituals. A shrine. Flowers. Messages. Bikes. Whatever. The facts are that a young man has been wasted by the order of some miserable gangster. A life has been destroyed. No one has the right ever to take a life,” he added.

Fr Ahearne told how James Whelan’s mother Sonya craved "quietness, dignity, and respect around her child. She is angry. She is screaming - even at God".

“She doesn't want all the noise. Here is how she recalls life with James. He was a torment.

"The bane of her life. She spent all her years worrying about him and what he was doing and with whom he was involved. What had he done now? Where was he? Those thoughts rang in her head every day of his life. Her praying was deep and rich.

“He had a big heart. He was a terror. He was soft. He would give anything to anyone and liked the image of being a Robin Hood type of character,” he said, adding that a young Whelan brought every kind of stray into the house, even a horse one time.”

Fr Ahearne also described how Whelan was “meticulous about his food, about his clothes, about his shampoo, about his aftershave".

“He loved his bikes, his cars, his dog, and of course his clothes. Money. Designer was made for him. He loved Jean. He loved Parker. But he did mix with strange people and got caught up in bad things,” he said.

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