IRISHMAN Thomas O’Halloran, who was tragically stabbed to death in London in August, has been laid to rest.
The 87-year-old was on his mobility scooter when he was attacked near his home in Greenford, West London on August 16.
The Ennistymon native’s funeral took place at the Our Lady of the Visitation church in Greenford, West London on Saturday.
Irish music played as Mr O’Halloran’s coffin was borne into the church, draped in the flag of his native Co. Clare.
Those in attendance heard how Mr O’Halloran, the eldest of 14 children, moved to London at the age of 17.
The talented musician worked at various jobs in the capital, including as a maintenance worker, and was adept at whatever he turned his hand to.
‘Wrong place at the wrong time’
Mr O’Halloran’s friend, Ambrose Gordon, told mourners how the tragedy had left those on either side of the Irish Sea devastated.
“The tragic killing of Tom provoked understandable devastation right across West London and his hometown of Ennistymon in Co. Clare,” said Mr Gordon.
“But it was the level of outrage that accompanied this grief that will hopefully prove to be a turning point and, in some way, provide another legacy of the life of an old man.
“His music, playing his accordion, his favourite tunes, busking around Tesco’s in Perivale [and] Greenford Station, his love for his cats, coupled with the fact this could have been anybody — Tom just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“He would travel around with his mobile scooter collecting a few pounds for his favourite charities, including Ukraine
“There is no reason why any man or woman should feel unsafe on our streets at any time of day or night.”
Leading the funeral, Fr Liam O’Donnell paid tribute to the generosity of Mr O’Halloran, who often busked to collect money for good causes.
Just as he had supported many charities, it was time now, he said, for others to support Mr O’Halloran’s grieving family.
“Why we are here today is to support Thomas’ family,” he said.
“Support them with our presence, support them with our words of condolence, the words of the gospel, telling us not to let our hearts be troubled and to have hope.
“And supporting them, above all, with our prayers, calling the mercy and peace of God into their lives in this time of pain and grief and suffering.”
Mr O’Halloran was laid to rest at Greenford Park Cemetery before a celebration of his life took place at the Tir Chonaill Gaels GAA clubhouse.
Lee Byer, 44, of Allenby Avenue UB12, has been charged with the murder of Mr O’Halloran.
A plea hearing has been set for November 8, with a provisional trial due to get under way on May 2, 2023.
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