Mourners line streets for funerals of two gay men murdered in Ireland

Aidan Moffitt (L) and Michael Snee (R)

The funerals of Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee, the two gay men murdered in Sligo, Ireland, have taken place.

Ireland’s horrified gaze has been fixed on Sligo, a small seaport town, after the murders of two gay men and the assault of another.

Aidan Moffitt, a 41-year-old local auctioneer, and Michael Snee, a 58-year-old retired healthcare worker, were both found dead in their own homes, only one kilometre apart from one another. A man has been charged with their murders.

On Monday (18 April), they were remembered in separate funerals. Moffitt, described as a spirited and kind man, was laid to rest in the village of Lisacul in his home country of Roscommon.

The funeral for Snee, a “lovely, gentle, sensitive, caring, compassionate” man, was held in Ballytivnan in Sligo.

Aidan Moffitt ‘made the world a better place’

Moffitt’s mother, Kathleen Moffitt, shook her head as the coffin of her youngest son was wheeled to the altar to Adele‘s “Somone Like You”.

Mourners heard of Moffitt’s love of horse racing and the joy he felt as the horse he co-owned, Ashjan, won at Downpatrick in 2017.

Father Michael McManus told grievers at the Lisacul church of Christ the King he has been “in a state of shock, like the rest of the country” following Moffitt’s death.

“Words fail at the time,” he said, “yet all we have are words to show sorrow and support.”

Bishop Kevin Doran said Moffitt’s passion for politics as a Fine Gael activist was something he inherited from his father.

“Politics calls for generous sacrifices in the service of others for the sake of the common good,” Doran said.

“Not everybody is willing to make those sacrifices.

“We can be thankful for the gifts that Aidan shared in this and in so many other ways.”

As the service came to a close, Martin McMahon, a friend of Moffitt’s, said he was an “authentic gift to the world” whose kindness was “boundless”.

“Aidan made the world a better place and the people he cared for and engaged with better people,” he said.

Michael Snee lived a ‘beautiful, kind life’

Michael Snee’s nephew Aaron Spring told mourners that it’s the “simple things” about his uncle he’ll miss the most.

“He loved his garden, he loved his fashion,” he said at Saint Joseph’s Church in Ballytivnan.

“Michael loved to cook and the day that he was taken from us he had cooked a beautiful meal for grandad and myself. This was something he had regularly done and always done so well.”

Father Noel Rooney said: “There is much sadness in this church this afternoon, there is much grief in this church this afternoon, there is much devastation in this church this afternoon.

“What a beautiful life Michael Snee did live. What a kind life he lived.

“He was the quintessential gentle person. He was much loved by all and had a heart filled with love for all. He was a sensitive man who couldn’t do enough for his family, friends, and loved ones.”

Bishop Kevin Doran paid tribute to Snee’s kindness, speaking at Moffitt’s service. His career was spent caring for the elderly and those living with disabilities.

“It is the kind of work that requires gentleness and patience. I join you all in giving thanks today for the gift of his life which was given so generously in the service of others,” he said.

A representative of taoiseach Micheál Martin attended both funerals, with mayor of Sligo Arthur Gibbons attending Snee’s service.

The funerals follow a series of vigils for Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee. 

Yousef Palani, a 22-year-old man from Sligo, was charged with the murders of both men on 14 April and was remanded in custody.