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jail in the coffin Watch: Rathkeale trader's funeral stops at prison to bid farewell to pal behind bars

John Kealy's funeral cortege stopped off at Portlaoise Prison to allow a final farewell with best friend who is serving ten-years

The funeral of a Rathkeale trader stopped off at the high-security Portlaoise Prison to allow a final farewell with his best friend who is serving a ten-year sentence.

The funeral cortege and hearse bearing the casket of John Kealy with his photo attached, briefly blocked the road as mourners honked horns and cheered.

A man in the video clip described John O'Donoghue as John's best friend and, speaking to the casket, says: "You came to see your best friend John O'Donoghue, we're outside the jail at Portlaoise, one of your best friends."

Other videos posted on social media this week show the hearse stopped at various pubs on the journey south to Rathkeale.

The deceased is toasted with creamy pints of Guinness at stops in Co. Laois and Tipperary and another pub close to his final resting place in the Co. Limerick town.


John Kealy RIP

John Kealy RIP

John Kealy RIP

An emotional clip shows relatives in the hearse again toasting John Kealy with pints of Guinness as the journey continued.

He is a brother of one of the town's well-known and wealthy traders Patrick 'Fat Cat' Kealy, who did well with property investments in the 2000s.

Patrick had tried to take over a pub in Rathkeale in 2018, but ran into objections from gardaí at a licensing hearing in Limerick.

Under cross-examination it was put to him he was the "patriarch" of the Kealy family, who were involved in a long-running feud with other families.

Patrick Kealy disputed this in court and said a number of families had "shaken hands", and there were no ongoing difficulties between families.

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The State argued there was a "sufficient" number of public houses serving the Rathkeale area, as well as its surrounding hinterland, at all times of the year.

When refused a licence, he told the Limerick Leader: "I don't feel great at all, I feel very bad about it, I feel was discriminated against."

The Sunday World recently revealed how John Kealy's friend John O'Donoghue, a Criminal Assets Bureau target and convicted drug-dealer, is serving time for a machete attack in which his victim thought he was going to die.

The attack happened in Rathkeale during the Christmas period in 2017, when the victim returned to the Limerick town for the first time in 17 years.


John O'Donoghue

John O'Donoghue

John O'Donoghue

Described in court as a leading member of Rathkeale's Traveller-trader community John O'Donoghue had shown "no remorse" for the savage assault.

He was also found guilty of violent disorder but found not guilty of making threats to kill Willie O'Driscoll, who was in his 70s at the time of the attack.

Members of the O'Driscoll family were effectively held at bay by men armed with weapons as O'Driscoll was attacked by O'Donoghue wielding a two-and-a-half-foot rusty machete.

In his victim impact statement, Willie O'Driscoll, a former antiques dealer, said "I thought I was going to die."

The Sunday World previously revealed how O'Donoghue had been the target of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) and the UK's National Crime Agency.


The funeral car at Portlaoise Prison

The funeral car at Portlaoise Prison

The funeral car at Portlaoise Prison


He was targeted in an operation by the UK's National Crime Agency as he set up a cannabis deal in Salford in 2013.

O'Donoghue pleaded guilty to facilitating drug trafficking deals for organised crime groups both in the UK and Ireland and was given a two-year suspended sentence.

In January 2017 O'Donoghue was in also court, where he was convicted of threatening and abusive behaviour towards the CAB officers searching his home in 2016.

Later that year Rathkeale came to a standstill when an explosive device was left near O'Donoghue's house on Main Street, which had to be dealt with by the Army.

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