The priest officiating at the funeral of the Derry man who was killed in the Waterside area has spoken of how “his life was cut cruelly short”.
Fr Michael Canny also warned about the futility of revenge and urged that be done to compound the grief of Gerard’s parents and family.
Father Canny was speaking during the Requiem Mass of Gerard Quinn in St Mary’s Church, Ardmore on Sunday afternoon.
Hundreds had packed into the church at the funeral, which was held eight days after Gerard died from injuries sustained during an alleged incident in the Currynierin estate where the 24-year-old father-of-one lived.
Nierin F.C. and St Mary’s G.A.C. Ardmore formed a guard of honour at the Church on Sunday in honour of Gerard’s contribution to both times.
Fr Canny told mourners: “We are gathered to say farewell because his life was cruelly cut short. That we are here in these circumstances is heart breaking and challenging.
“Life is real and so is death and it can hit us hard at times. We gather frequently for Christian funerals and that’s okay, because usually a person has lived a long and full life, but our gathering today is not okay. It’s not okay because of the manner of Gerard’s death.”
He added that Gerard’s killing was “an act that has caused parents to lose a son, three young men their brother and a two year old child her father”.
Addressing the young man’s family, Fr Canny said: “For you Gerard, his father and Rose his mother and Michael, Jonathan and Leonard, his brothers, this last week has been very challenging. You have been devastated and numbed by the tragic death of a son and brother. Your lives have been changed and will never be the same again. For the remainder of your natural lives you will have to live with the reality of this life changing event. It will not be easy; indeed you will have many difficult days.”
Fr Canny added a warning that an eye for an eye leaves “everyone blind”.
He said: “To the wider community present today and especially to Gerard’s close friends – this past week has also been very difficult. No doubt on many occasions you have been angry and may have had thoughts of revenge.
“Today, conscious that after an event like this our emotions can be unsettled, I say to you – enough people have suffered pain and loss. For Jesus and for you and me – who claim the name of Christian – the message is clear - there is no ambiguity or ambivalence. We must be prepared to forgive and help others even if they bring the grief on themselves. This is not easy, but an eye for an eye mentality leaves everyone blind. Nobody wins – everyone is a loser. Don’t do anything that would bring further suffering to Gerard’s parents, brothers and our community.
“As we take Gerard to his place of Rest here in Ardmore we pray that the traumatic burden you have endured over the past week may be lessened by our prayers and the saving grace of Jesus Christ.”