Hundreds gather in Ireland for Jill Meagher

ELAINE KEOGH
Last updated 10:57 06/10/2012
Jill Meagher
Jill Meagher went missing when walking home from drinks with workmates.

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The hopes and dreams for Jill and Tom Meagher's new life in Australia were "cut short by a despicable act one Friday night that has left us all numb", mourners at a memorial mass in Ireland were told overnight.

The 29-year-old went missing after Friday night drinks with her ABC colleagues in Melbourne last month. Her body was found more than a week later in a shallow grave.

A man has been charged with her rape and murder.

A congregation of close to one thousand gathered at St Peter's Church in Drogheda, about 50km north of Dublin, to celebrate her life.

The service took place in the church in which Meagher was baptised 29 years ago, and was presided over by Father Oliver Devine, who married Jill and Tom in Ireland.

Father Devine told the congregation that Meagher's tragic passing had touched people all over the world, "from Melbourne to Drogheda from Dublin to Perth from Boyle in Roscommon to Brisbane in Australia."

"She has touched the hearts of all of us even if we only knew her for a short time or even if we didn't know her at all apart from what we have learned from the media," he said.

Father Devine recalled that while working, at Brown Thomas in 2003, she had served Australian pop star Kylie Minogue. "She was shocked to realise that Kylie was actually shorter than herself!"

He also told mourners that in the love poem Meagher wrote for her husband for their wedding day, she said: "He taught me that listening to Jewel just wasn't cool; Tried to convince me that Shakespeare was but a fool; After listening to all this waffle I just knew; So I wrote on the back of a Tesco (supermarket) receipt, I Love You."

Father Devine told mourners that bad things could happen to good people and that on "this side of the grave, we have no rational explanation why".

Meagher's aunt Catherine McKeon-Halpin also gave her thanks to those who showed their support in Ireland and Australia.

"To our friends and the people of Drogheda, Australia and especially Brunswick, who marched in their thousands, you gave our families and me the courage to get through these past 2 weeks. May we offer you our sincere thanks," she said.

In a special message to Jill's family, Cardinal Sean Brady, the Catholic Primate of All Ireland, said: "There are no words which can begin to capture the overwhelming grief and loss which Jill's family and friends must be feeling at this time."

The Irish President was represented by his aide-de-comp, Colonel Brendan McAndrew, and the Irish Prime Minister was represented by his Aide de Comp Commandant, Michael Tracey. Also in attendance was the Australian charge d'affaires John Smith and his wife.

- The Age

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