Athlone priest describes terrorist as ‘crazed, brainwashed fanatic’

Larry and Martina were ‘soulmates’ – Canon Devine

During a powerful Homily at the funeral of terrorist victims Larry and Martina Hayes, Canon Liam Devine said that the man who was responsible for the massacre on a beach in Sousse, Tunisia was “a crazed, brainwashed fanatic”.

Canon Devine said: “It is impossible to get inside the mind of someone who would carry out such an abominable act of violence.

“We cannot judge people like that by our values or standards. Word is that he mingled with his victims, joked with them and took their photos before producing the machine gun.

“How could anyone possibly believe that such an act could achieve any benefit, anytime, anywhere? “There is nothing that could possibly make sense in the mountain of pain and suffering that so many innocent people have been asked to endure so needlessly.

“The massacre of innocents is always an abominable crime. When done in the name of God, it is also blasphemy.” A horrific terrorist attack had now indirectly struck Athlone, Canon Devine told the congregation.

He said: “For some time now, the violence of misguided Isis terrorist fanatics have invaded our living rooms in a sanitised, sterilised way. “We never thought it would trouble us here in Ireland, so far away. Today it invades our town in two coffins. The violence is now at our door.”

He said that the tragedy had “shocked, stunned and devastated” the entire community in Athlone. He also said: “There is nothing – no human experience of grief or loss – that could possibly prepare a family or a community for the devastating news that filtered through to Athlone last Saturday night or Sunday morning.

” Canon Devine said that the massacre of Larry and Martina, nearing the end of their holiday in Tunisia, was “almost impossible to come to terms with”.

Those words will be especially true for daughter, Sinéad, whose 31st birthday took place that day. Canon Devine paid a glowing tribute to her parents, whom he said were “soulmates”.

“They went everywhere together,” he added. “They shared a common interest in gardening. Martina’s home was her castle. She was a brilliant housekeeper.” He said that they always looked forward to their annual holidays. “This was their third trip to Tunisia,” he added.

“Summer time is a care-free time of relaxation. But this tragedy has merged massacre and mystery together, leaving us all in a bewildered state of shock and deep sadness.”