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'Exceptional' Mourners at funerals of Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee remember lives full of ‘love and kindness’

  • ‘He always brought his mother on day trips and took her for lunch. He looked after her so well’: Aidan Moffitt ‘makes us think about how we should treat our parents in life’, funeral hears
  • Mourners in Sligo remember Michael Snee as someone ‘who couldn’t do enough for his family, his friends and those with whom he worked’

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Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee will both be laid to rest today.

Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee will both be laid to rest today.

Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee will both be laid to rest today.

Heartfelt tributes have been paid to Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee at their funerals, which are taking place this Easter Monday.

Aidan’s funeral mass took place this afternoon in the Church of Christ the King, Lisacul, Co Roscommon, while Michael’s funeral was at Saint Joseph's Church, Ballytivnan, Co Sligo.

Aidan (41) was found at his home in Cartron Heights, on Monday evening, a day before the body of Michael (58) was discovered on Tuesday evening at his home in the City View estate by two of his nieces.

Both men died violently in their own homes. A man has been charged in relation to their deaths.

Vigils across the country were held over the past weekend in memory of Michael and Aidan, with thousands attending. They will continue across Easter Monday and into this week.

In Roscommon, mourners lined the road as Aidan’s large funeral procession approached the church to the piano playing of Adele’s Someone Like You.

Over 1,000 people tuned in to pay their respects to Aidan virtually on a live-stream of his funeral mass while the small church was filled and mourners also listened to the service from the grounds outside.

Symbols of Aidan’s life were brought to the altar; a Roscommon flag to represent the love he had for his native county; an auctioneer’s mallet to represent the love he had for his work; jockey silks of The Real Deal syndicate, a syndicate of owners of which Aidan was a member, to symbolise his love of horses and horse racing.

A Moffitt family crest was also brought forward, along with a statue of Our Lady, to mark Aidan’s deep faith and deep love for his family.

Fr Michael McManus in his homily said that “words fail at this time. But all we have are words to express our sorrow.

“Let not Aidan’s death and how he died be what he is remembered for,” Fr McManus said.

Aidan’s love for his family was highlighted by Fr McManus through his care for his mother Kathleen.

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“He always brought his mother on day trips and took her for lunch. He looked after her so well.

“His love for you was exceptional, Kathleen, and he makes us think about how we should all treat our parents in life,” Fr McManus said.

Aidan was predeceased by his father, Tom, 11 years ago.

Fr McManus said he was left in a “state of shock” when Aidan’s brother, Christy, called him to inform him of Aidan’s death.

“There’s no words to describe the grief that Aidan’s death has caused his family and friends.

“As we gather, we do so to honour Aidan’s life and achievements.

“He lived life to the fullest, always putting family and friends before his own needs. Although Aidan was successful in his working life, he was first and foremost a son, brother, uncle and friend.

“Aidan’s love of politics, horse racing and a good night out are all well documented,” Fr McManus said, adding that the “one thing I knew about Aidan was that he was a man of faith."

Fr McManus - a close friend of the Moffitt family - also read out a message from the Bishop of Elphin to Aidan’s family.

Bishop Kevin Doran, in a letter to the Moffitts, sympathised with the family for having to “endure a particularly painful week because Aidan has been taken away from you so suddenly”.

“I know, from listening to what you told me, that each one of you has his or her own treasured memory of Aidan, as a son, a brother or an uncle. I hope that you will always remember him as you knew him and loved him.

“I extend my condolences also to Aidan’s many friends. I can understand that Aidan’s death has touched each of you very personally. You can equally be sure that your friendship was important to him. May God, who loves Aidan, hold you always in the palm of His hand.

“I understand that Aidan’s interest in politics was something he picked up at a young age from his father, Tom. Politics calls for generous sacrifices in the service of others for the sake of the common good. Not everybody is willing to make those sacrifices. We can be thankful for the gifts that Aidan shared in this and in so many other ways,” Bishop Doran said.

Across the county border in Co Sligo, Bishop Doran also sent a message of condolence to the Snee family and Michael’s friends, read out by parish priest, Fr Noel Rooney.

Bishop Doran told the Snee family that while “the death of someone you love is never easy”, that through great friends in neighbours in the coming months, “you will experience, through their occasional visits or phone calls, the healing presence of God’s Spirit at work in you.”

“Michael devoted his working life to caring for the elderly and for people with intellectual disabilities. It is the kind of work that requires gentleness and patience. I join you all in giving thanks today for the gift of his life which was given so generously in the service of others. May Michael rest in peace. May Mary the mother of Jesus, who stood at the foot of the Cross, as her Son was dying, comfort you and strengthen you with her faith,” Bishop Doran said.

In his Homily, Fr Rooney said “sadness, grief, devastation, disbelief, and, indeed, anger, are in our hearts as we gather”.

“Agony, suffering and crucifixion continue to be an ongoing reality for Michael’s family, despite the immense outpouring of love from their extended family, their friends and their neighbours. The Easter promise of hope seems elusive”.

Fr Rooney explained how Michael was predeceased by his beloved Mum Phil in 2001, and that “Michael is indeed in that loving embrace of Phil and that both of them are surrounded by the loving embrace of the Risen Christ”.

“Less than 58 years ago Michael was carried into Sligo Cathedral by his parents, Phil and John, and by his godparents for Baptism – a moment of joy and a moment full of hope. Today, once again Michael is carried into a church. This time in sadness at his brutal and untimely death.

Fr Rooney said it was important that “we do not allow the horror of Michael’s death to define his beautiful life”.

“And what a beautiful life he lived.

"Many beautiful memories were shared with tears and with laughter over the last few days. Michael was a beautiful, kind, and gentle person. He was much-loved and had a heart filled with love. He was sensitive and couldn’t do enough for his family, his friends and those with whom he worked.

“He was a porter/carer in Cregg House and in Saint John’s Hospital. He had a beautiful way with residents, especially with those most complex. He retired about 10 years ago with sight problems,” Fr Rooney said.

Fr Rooney said Michael was “always dapper and well-presented”.

“He wore the best clothes and shoes. According to Tina, he aged gracefully and became better with age. According to Aaron, he was like a fine wine,

“Oskar, his dog, was his baby and the love of his life. He was fed the very best of food: steak, pork chops, and chicken, while Michael himself lived on coffee. Oskar is so polite that he would not eat until Michael began to do so,” Fr Rooney said.

Fr Rooney fondly remembered Michael’s love of foreign holidays and recalled when he “would often fall asleep on his sunbed and end up burned, much to the amusement of family and friends”.

Fr Rooney remembered Michael’s love for his family, including his Dad John, his sisters Mary and Tina, his nephew and nieces, Aaron, Shannon and Sophie, “who were at the heart of his life”.

“Last Tuesday he cooked a stew for his family and phoned at 6:30pm to ask if it was ‘nice’ and did they ‘enjoy’.

“Later that same night around 10:30pm, Shannon and Sophie would make the grim discovery.

“This was Michael’s beautiful life filled with love, kindness and a generous heart. Let these define his life and the memory of his life,” Fr Rooney said.

Michael’s niece Shannon presented the first offertory gift; a photo of Michael’s dog, Oskar.

Michael’s friend Leah then brought forward a coffee mug, before another friend Lauryn gifted Michael’s glasses. His niece Sophie offered up a family photo while his sisters Mary and Tina brought forward the bread and wine.

Over the weekend, President Michael D Higgins offered his support to members of the LGBTQ+ community.

President Higgins expressed his “deepest condolences” with members of the public who have been impacted by Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee’s deaths.

He said that “horrific” recent events had shone a light on homophobia in Ireland where “heartbreakingly.... members of the gay community face homophobic comments and slurs, often unchallenged”.

He added: “We must do better.”

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