MOURNERS at the mass for the man brutally murdered in the Longlands area were told his death had left an “empty space” and life for his family will “never be the same again”.
Danny McKay was murdered while he sat in the Longlands home he shared with his fiancee.
The 36-year-old father-of-one was shot several times by two masked gunmen on Thursday, October 25.
Police are continuing to investigate the murder and have since arrested and questioned several individuals.
However, all have been released unconditionally.
At the funeral for Mr McKay in St Gerard’s Church on Friday, November 2, mourners were told he had been cut down in the “early summer of his life”.
The cortege moved off from the family home in Fairyknowe Park, in the Whitewell area, along the short distance to the Antrim Road church.
Floral tributes on the hearse included the letters ‘YNWA’ (you’ll never walk alone) and ‘Big Dan’ in honour of the Celtic supporter.
McKay’s parents Danny and Kate along with his 10-year-old daughter Rebecca led mourners into the packed church.
A number of the congregation broke down during readings given by the dead man’s brothers Kieran and Declan.
Father Gerard Cassidy said the family “will carry that pain and loss for the rest of their lives. Life for them will never be the same again,” he said.
The priest went on: “Daniel died at the age of 36 and throughout his life he would have been familiar with the changing of nature on the Cave Hill.
“He would have seen the new life in spring and the beautiful colour of summer and the death of winter.
“While we take the dead of winter for granted, Daniel died in the early summer of his life.
“The death of a human person is unnatural, like a forced expulsion and it leaves an empty space.”
Meanwhile, police have returned to the scene of the murder on the Longlands Road to appeal for potential witnesses to come forward.
They have said there may be a link to dissident republicans and the illegal drugs trade.
Prior to the murder, five masked men entered a house at Dunore Court in the New Lodge area of north Belfast and forced the occupant to hand over his silver Volkswagen Bora car.
At 8.50pm the car, registration number KLZ 9787, was found burnt out in Ardmoulin Place in the lower Falls area of west Belfast.
Police believe these three incidents are linked.
Officers returned to all three locations to speak to local people and passers-by.
Detective Chief Inspector John McVea, described the murder as “brutal” and urged anyone with information to come forward.
Police can be contacted on 0845 600 8000 or information can be passed anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.