Sunday, January 08, 2023

Olivia Kelleher

A 28-year-old Brazilian librarian who died violently on New Year’s Day has been remembered at a vigil in the Lough in Cork as a “beloved daughter, sister, friend, a hard worker and a dreamer”.

Over two hundred people attended the prayer service at 10am today with representatives of both the Brazilian and Irish community holding white candles and white roses during the celebration of the life of Bruna Fonseca.

The event was attended by Maria Fonseca, the 18-year-old niece of Bruna and her cousin Marcela Fonseca who are both living in Cork.

The pair held white roses through the prayers which they placed on a table bearing the Brazilian flag and a white floral arrangement once the vigil concluded.

Brazilian national Gabriela Lobianco said that Bruna was much loved young woman who had moved to Cork last year to study and work.

“Seven days ago we woke up reading the shocking news about Bruna. We as a community would like to express our deepest condolences and sympathies to her family and friends. Violence against women has no race or nationality. It is a worldwide issue.”

A second speaker, Pedro Baroso, expressed his gratitude to all those who contributed to a Go Fund me set up to raise funds to repatriate Bruna to her home town of Formica in Brazil for burial. He also thanked gardai and the community in Cork for their assistance following the death of Ms Fonseca.

A message was read out on behalf of a woman called Maria Paula who was the best friend of Bruna for over 20 years in Brazil.

Like a sunny day in the rainy season.

Maria Paula said that Bruna was like “a sunny day in the rainy season”.

“She was a loving and dedicated daughter and sister, a confidant, friend and great companion, a committed and honest professional.

“She would welcome you with open arms, her laugh contagious to whoever was around and if we can personify the world resilience it would be her. There was nothing in the world that would make her give up. Her dreams were just too big.”

Meanwhile, the vigil was also attended by several politicians including Tánaiste Micheál Martin, Senator Jerry Buttimer and Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Deirdre Forde.

Mr Martin said that the death of Bruna was an enormous tragedy.

Violence against women

“The horrific killing of Bruna brings to mind the need to create a culture in society that has a zero tolerance for misogyny and in particular for violence against women.

“All the arrangements have more or less been made (for the repatriation of Bruna to Brazil.) It is very traumatic and sad for all concerned. She came to make a life here in Cork. She loved her job. It is clear from what we have heard this morning that she was a warm beautiful person who touched the lives of many people.”

Cllr Forde offered her condolences to the family following the tragic loss of Bruna. She said that the death of Bruna reminds us also of the “precious lives” of women who have died in similar circumstances in Ireland in recent years.

At the time of her death Bruna was working as a contract cleaner at Mercy University Hospital in Cork.

Bruna is survived by her parents Marina and Tadeu and her sisters Izabel and Fernanda. Izabel told a newspaper in Brazil that Bruna “was always helping those who sought help from her.”

Ms Fonseca had gone to socialise with friends in Cork on New Year’s Eve and was found dead at a flat in Liberty Street at 6.30am the following day after the emergency services were called to come to the address.

Efforts were made to revive the graduate of the Centro Universitário de Formiga. However, she was pronounced dead at the scene.

A family liaison officer has been appointed, and consular assistance will be given in terms of repatriating her body to Brazil.

A man has appeared in court charged with the murder of Ms Fonseca at 5 Liberty Street in Cork on January 1st. The 29-year-old Brazilian national is before the court again on Monday.

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