Prison officer killed in M50 crash remembered as family man and ‘big kid’ who adored his children

The director general of the Irish Prison Service attended the funeral of Derek Martin along with over 1,000 mourners

More than 1,000 mourners among them many uniformed members of the Prison Service have attended the funeral of prison officer Derek Martin at the Church of Our Lady of Victories in Glasnevin, Dublin.

Mr Martin, who worked in the library of Wheatfield Prison, was killed when his motorcycle was in collision with a truck on the M50 motorway on Friday May 17th.

During the ceremony Our Lady of Victories parish priest Fr Frank Reyburn paid tribute to those who stopped to comfort Mr Martin in the immediate aftermath of the crash.

The chief mourners at the funeral were Mr Martin’s wife Vanessa and children Caitlin and Reece, his parents Ethel and Derek and his sisters Michelle, Jennifer and Helen.

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The director general of the Irish Prison Service Caron McCaffrey attended alongside senior staff and heads of the service in the Dublin region. Throughout the funeral mass two prison officers stood in a guard of honour behind Mr Martin’s coffin which was which was draped in the national flag. More than 50 motor bikers lined the avenue to the church in advance of the funeral mass.

In a eulogy, Mr Martin’s best friend Noel Kelly said Mr Martin was very close to his three sisters, and his parents Derek and Ethel. He credited Mr Martin’s mother with saving Derek’s life by encouraging him to lose weight. In recent years Mr Martin had lost half his body weight, Noel said.

He said Mr Martin was a family man and “a big kid” who loved bringing his daughter Caitlin to Disney theme parks and his son Reece to football matches. He said Mr Martin was had proposed to his wife “a few times” and later changed his name on her phone to “the most amazing husband ever”. He said every Saturday when Ms Martin was working she would come home “to the house spotless, fresh PJs waiting for her and dinner ready”.

“Derek was a very romantic man and Vanessa was the beneficiary of this,” he said. “He was never lost for words. Sometimes his mouth might run faster than his mind – Derek had no filter at all and he never apologised for that”, he said.

Tributes were also paid to Mr Martin’s work in the prison service with colleagues saying he would always know when an inmate was finished a book, and would always make sure another was ready.

Before the final commendation from Fr Reyburn the congregation stood and sang the Liverpool Football Club anthem “You will never walk alone”.

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