Treat homeless with 'more sympathy and kindness' funeral of murder victim Frankie Dunne hears

By Eoin English
Irish Examiner Reporter

Update 1.24pm: The violent death of Frankie Dunne, whose dismembered body was found behind a derelict house in Cork just over a week ago, is incomprehensible, wrong, pointless and without justification, mourners at his funeral Mass were told today.

Fr Gregory Howard, the parish priest of Knocknaheeny/Hollyhill Parish, told those who gathered at St Mary’s on the Hill Church in Knocknaheeny for requiem Mass this morning, that the consequent devastation, havoc and pain that has been thrust on those who loved Mr Dunne, especially his loving family and his many friends, is “truly unbearable and indescribable”.

And he urged people to learn from the tragedy and show more sympathy and kindness to the next homeless person they meet.

He made his comments during his homily which drew sustained applause from the large congregation.

“The silence last night at the removal was quite tangible. The silence here at the church today is quite evident - the shock, the anger, the wonder the sadness,” Fr Howard said.

“And that is why our concern and our prayers are with those who have been robbed of their beloved father grandfather brother uncle partner and friend.”

Mr Dunne, 64, who was originally from Churchfield Avenue in Knocknaheeny but who had been living in a supported housing unit on Boreenmanna Road, Cork, run by Cork Simon since last July, was found murdered in the back garden of the disused and boarded-up Castlegreina House also on Boreenmanna Road at around 4pm on Saturday December 28 last. He had been savaged beaten before his head and arms were cut off.

He is mourned by his adult children, John, Catherine and Chlóe, his siblings, Michael, Susie, Theresa, Monica and Catherine, and his extended family.

Fr Howard said the have received many messages of sympathy, including many from people who knew Frankie on a deeply personal level.

“Some messages on Twitter describe Frankie as ‘a true friend’, ‘a gentle soul’, ‘a kind man’ who had ‘a heart of gold’.

“You, the family, described him to me as a person who possessed an inquisitive mind.

“You said and I quote: ‘Frankie was interested in everything - nature, informing himself, interested in racing, cooking. He recently cooked a coddle for his family. He loved tripe and drisheen. He tried to make people laugh. Frankie never held a grudge’.”

“Frankie, like all of humankind, suffered from his own demons. He tried many, many times to overcome them. We read in Sacred Scripture (Proverbs 24:16) that the most perfect person falls seven times a day.

"But is it not true that a person’s weakness draws out goodness from others?

“It is said that adversity brings out the best in people and affluence brings out the worst.

"Many people reached out to Frankie - his family, his friends and the staff and residents of Clanmornin House, Boreenmanna Road, as well as the countless and unknown people who were kind to him.

"Expressions of thanks must be given to the Simon Community who give shelter and refuge to Frankie and to many, many people without houses.

"Finally, the greatest lesson of all is this. The next homeless person we meet, we might treat them with a little more sympathy and kindness. For whatever we do to the least of our sisters and brothers, we do it to Jesus.”

Burial will take place in St Michael’s Cemetery in Blackrock later.

Funeral of Frankie Dunne told to treat homeless 'with a little more sympathy and kindness'

The funeral mass of murdered homeless man Francis ‘Frankie’ Dunne has taken place in Cork city, with attendants being urged to be kind to the next homeless person they meet, writes Denise O'Donoghue.

The mass took place at St Mary’s on the Hill Church in Knocknaheeny before Mr Dunne's burial at St Michael’s Cemetery in Blackrock.

The 64-year-old’s partially dismembered body was found in the garden of Castlegreina House on Boreenmanna Rd at the end of last month.

Father Gregory Howard told attendants that Frankie's "spirit is free because he loved and is loved".

The remains of Francis
The remains of Francis 'Frankie' Dunne are shouldered from the church of St Mary's on The Hill, Knocknaheeney

Fr Howard mentioned those who reached out to the Dunne family after Frankie's death to remember him.

"[The family] have received messages of sympathy. Many of them are from people who knew Frankie on a deeply personal level.

Some messages on Twitter describe Frankie as “a true friend”, “a gentle soul”, “a kind man” who had “a heart of Gold”.

Frankie's family said he had an inquisitive mind and "was interested in everything."

"Frankie never held a grudge," they said.

Fr Howard paid tribute to those who helped Frankie during his life, including his family and friends, the staff and residents of Clanmornin House and the Simon Community.

"The greatest lesson of all is this: the next homeless person we meet, we might treat them with a little more sympathy and kindness," Fr Howard concluded.

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