The daughter of a popular Cashel man who was murdered and left in a farm pit for almost two years prayed at his funeral this week for justice for her father as he was finally given the dignity of a proper burial.
Almost two years since he went missing near Bansha , 52-year-old grandfather Bobby Ryan was laid to rest in St Cormac’s Cemetery in his native town after funeral Mass in the Church of St John the Baptist, yards from the house where he grew up on Friar Street.
Gardaí are continuing to investigate the violent death and are treating the case as a murder inquiry following a post-mortem carried out the day after his remains were found at the bottom of a pit on farmland in Fawnagown, between Bansha and Tipperary town, three weeks ago.
During a heart-wrenching address to mourners at the end of Monday’s ceremony, Bobby’s daughter Michelle said a cloud was hanging over the family since June 3 of 2011 when the popular truck-driver and DJ went missing, but now a chink of light was finally breaking through that cloud.
They could, she said, at last give him a funeral and bury him in the cemetery among his own people.
“He has given the last two years on his own and now, finally, he’s back where he belongs.”
Supported by her brother Robert, emotion coursing through her body, Michelle said they should not be in the church for a funeral for her father. “Dad should be ringing us now, from his truck, on his tea-break or lunch break, spending 20 minutes talking about nothing,” she said with a sad laugh.
“God didn’t take Daddy from us, someone else playing God did that and we’re asking God today to give us some... justice that Daddy deserves.”
They had waited two years to find Bobby, she said, and prayed every day during that time, “that we would find Daddy, that Daddy would be back”. She thanked God, “for giving him back to us, so we can lay him to rest”.
“I’m not going to say goodbye to Daddy, because that’s too final and I know wherever we go, he’s going to be mooching in, thinking he would miss something... So I’m just going to say that I’ll see you later.”
She thanked all who had helped with the search for Bobby since June of 2011, including the mountain rescue teams, Civil Defence gardaí, friends, family members and even strangers who gave up their time to try and locate the missing man.
In front of a large congregation which included Fine Gael TD Tom Hayes and the chairman of South Tipperary County Council John Crosse, symbols were brought to the altar at the beginning of the Mass to represent some of Bobby’s interests - a guitar for his love of music, two CDs recalling his work as a DJ, under the name “Mr Moonlight” and a banner from his truck in the Tipperary colours.
Chief celebrant Fr Bernie Moloney said Bobby’s family and friends had known “the bitter taste of lamentation” over the last two years. He also reflected on Bobby’s life as a family man, friend and entertainer. “Bobby had music in his heart and soul... Mr Moonlight touched the hearts of many, set the lips laughing and the feet dancing.”