The brother of murder victim Valerie French-Kilroy asked for prayers for her killer at her funeral service in Rosscarbery this afternoon.
David French delivered a eulogy at the service in St Fachtna's Cathedral before the Leap native was laid to rest in a family plot in the adjoining cemetery.
The 41-year-old occupational therapist was found dead at her home in Mayo last Friday. Her husband James was charged with her murder last Sunday.
In his eulogy today, David French said: "Please pray for the person responsible for her death."
He also asked for prayers for Valerie's three young sons – all under the age of five years, two of whom are twins.
He asked the congregation to pray "that they will grow up to be the men their mother wanted to see, with lives as full of laughter, love, joy, happiness and hope as hers was".
And he said: "Valerie’s three young sons are almost unaware of the catastrophe that has unfolded around them. Their wellbeing and their future will be our priority just as it was Valerie’s. We are here to celebrate Valerie’s wonderful life not to remember the horrific circumstances of her violent death. The name Valerie means strong and valiant. As you all know Valerie was an immensely caring and loving person. It was her calling both at work and at home throughout her life."
He continued: "Before Valerie sat her first exam when she entered secondary school we all thought of her as a happy go lucky little faerie who entertained us with her antics and activities. We mistakenly assumed she came into that euphemistic category of “not very interested in school”. That was before she sat the exam."
He recalled that his sister had a wonderful laugh and said she had a great sense of fun and enjoyment, like her father, who she adored.
He also said she had an immense capacity for work and a deep connection with people across the community wherever she was.
He added: "Valerie could also be very serious, but only when necessary. Valerie was very practical and capable across a wide range of areas. She loved music, festivals, storytelling, art, crafts, nature, gardening and animals."
David said that nobody is without faults and that his late sister was "very human". He elaborated: "Valerie would leave you in no doubt about things and could communicate very directly when that was required. Maybe she appreciated more than the rest of us how precious time together with people we love really is."
He included lines from a play by William Butler Yeats, called The Land of Heart's Desire.
He thanked the gardaí and other agencies, and "the many other dedicated professionals who deal with these situations more often than the rest of us."
In conclusion, he said: "As a close family friend often says: We are only put here to help each other. Valerie was put here to help us."
The service was led yesterday by Dean of Ross, Very Reverend Christopher Peters, who had officiated at Valerie's wedding in 2008 in the same church. He was joined by the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Dr Paul Colton.
Remembering Valerie, Rev Peters said: "She was someone at ease in and with herself happy to be a bit different and to do things differently … It is the precious memories of her life which must always define our memories of Valerie and her marriage to James and not the tragic and awful event of this last week."
A reading from the Gospel included the lines: "Peace I leave with you;
my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid."
Another reading from the words of St Paul also referenced peace:
"Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ …"
Mourners were led by her mother, also Valerie, David, her sisters Suzette, Hilary and Veronica, as well as HSE colleagues who travelled from Mayo for the service.
A note on the Order of Service encourages people to send memories of and stories about Valerie c/o Dean Christopher Peters, Rosscarbery, so that, at an appropriate time in the future, these may be shared with her children.