Limerick mourns murdered pensioner Rosie

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Rose Hanrahan vigil
Chris Barrett at the candlelight vigil for Rose Hanrahan. Photo by Brendan Gleeson

Neighbours and friends of murdered pensioner Rosie Hanrahan gathered outside her home in Thomondgate, Limerick last night for a candlelight vigil in her memory.

The 78-year old was laid to rest yesterday, eight days after her body was discovered in her home, believed to have been strangled by her killer(s).

In their first direct appeal for information, the family, represented by Rosie’s niece, Avril, said: “The gardai have told us how amazingly helpful and forthcoming people have been, however they need more information.”

“So, to anyone who may know something that might help — no matter how small — we beg you to please come forward.”

Speaking from the altar at the funeral in St Munchin’s Church, Avril described Rosie as “a person who always saw a silver lining even on the greyest day.”

Ending her poignant tribute, she turned to her aunt’s coffin, and cried: “We will miss you always Rosie, and, we will always have you in our hearts.

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Rosie was due to spend Christmas Day in her home with her sister Helen and was to cook them both a festive dinner.

Helen, and her other sister Evelyn – who found Rosie’s body – draped her oak coffin before Rosie’s nieces and nephews left symbols of her life by the church altar.

They left rosary beads and a prayer book representing her Catholic faith; a hat and necklace showed Rosie’s love of fashion; a bingo book represented her love of social interaction; an Opera CD was a symbol of her love of music and a wrapped gift, represented Rosie’s “profoundly generous nature and kindness”.

Parish priest Fr Donal McNamara said Rosie’s death was “unfair, cruel, and mind boggling”, and that the nature of the pensioner’s death had shocked the entire city.

Visibly shaken by Rosie’s death, Fr McNamara described, how, in Rosie’s neighbourhood, located on the city’s north side, “few are feeling festive, as they try to come to grips with the knowledge the killer, willing to take the life of an elderly widow on her own, still remains at large”.

As the funeral cortège left outside St Munchin’s Church, the city fell silent, traffic paused, and in a collective mark of respect, motorists and mourners, and those just passing by, stopped and blessed themselves.

Echoing the family’s appeal for information, Fr McNamara added: “There are obviously people who know something and can possibly assist the police in their investigation, if so, in the name of God, come forward and ease the pain and anxiety of Rosie’s family and the neighbourhood.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Henry Street Garda Station on 061-212400, or Mayorstone Garda Station on 061-456980, or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666-111.

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