Northern Ireland

Jim Donegan: Family ask for 'no retaliation' ahead of funeral

Jim Donegan funeral Image copyright Pacemaker

The family of Jim Donegan, who was murdered outside a school in west Belfast, have asked for "no retaliation, only justice".

Mr Donegan, 43, was shot on 4 December while waiting for his 13-year-old son outside St Mary's Grammar School on the Glen Road.

His funeral took place on Thursday at St John's Parish.

Parish priest Fr Martin Magill passed on the family's message to mourners, saying they were "heartbroken".

"We are truly heartbroken by Jim being taken away from us in such a cruel, cold way but we wish for no retaliation, only justice for Jim," Fr Magill said.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Jim Donegan was shot dead while waiting for his son outside of a school

"Those words come from Jim's family as they prepared for this Requiem Mass. They are heartfelt and sincere."

Fr Magill also told the congregation that some relatives and friends of Jim learned of his death after pictures of his car were posted on social media.

'A final goodbye'

By BBC News NI's Catherine Morrison

Several hundred mourners filled St John's Church on the Falls Road, on a cold and bleak December morning.

Jim Donegan's young sons helped carry his coffin in for the Requiem Mass - the red and white flowers a tribute to his love of Liverpool Football Club.

Personal items - his wedding photograph, a car key and sunglasses - were brought to the front of the church.

As the service drew to a close, his widow, Laura, addressed mourners.

She told them her husband was the light of her life - of their family's lives.

As the cortege then made its way up the Falls Road, mourners walked behind the coffin. Mr Donegan's youngest son kept one hand on it, a final goodbye.

He also added that "speculation and allegations" that Jim was involved in criminal activity had added to the family's grief.

"Last Tuesday afternoon, Jim Donegan went to collect his son from school, an ordinary and everyday event in the lives of so many parents," Fr Magill said.

Image copyright Pacemaker

"His murder in any circumstances was wrong but even more so in the presence of children who were nearby and witnessed the traumatic scene, one that will stay with them for the rest of their lives."

Mr Donegan was described to the congregation as a "hard worker, business man and gentleman".

Fr Magill also passed on the family's gratitude to the members of the public and the teachers from nearby schools who stopped to try and help in the aftermath of the shooting.

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