THE family of 64-year-old Thomas Dooley who was found dead on his living room couch described him as “a very quiet person who always kept to himself”.
His elderly sister Ann Fennessey (65), who was the first family member informed of the death by gardai, said: "He was a sort of a loner. I hadn’t seen him for a long time, it was a couple of years ago.”
One of his other five sisters, Rose Murphy (60), described Mr Dooley, who was known locally as Toddy, as “a very nice man who loved his cans,” who would often visit a bar in the area known as The Long Bar, now called Scanlon's.
She told the Irish Independent about Mr Dooley's generosity towards his neighbours. “He used to bring turf in for a few of his neighbours, he was that type of person. He used to take my mother out for the day as well, he was very good like that.”
Mr Dooley lived at number 13 Sister Senan Court, a council estate for elderly people in Edenderry, Co Offaly.
His neighbour Paraic Carr, who lives at number 11, raised the alarm at approximately 2pm on Sunday afternoon when he did not receive his usual bag of groceries from Mr Dooley, who delivered them once or twice per week.
He informed Mr Dooley’s next door neighbour Margaret Farrell, who in turn called the gardai. It was minutes later that they discovered Mr Dooley in his living room. He had been badly beaten.
Father of three Mr Dooley suffered from albinism, a rare congenital disorder which caused him to have very poor eyesight.
He was the only sibling amongst eight brothers and sisters to be born with the disorder.
He had lived alone in the housing estate for eight years after separating from his wife Marian, who also died recently.
Resident Tom Bland (67) said he was “devastated” when he heard the news.
“You’d meet him on the street, but he always kept to himself. Unless you spoke to him, he wouldn’t speak to you, he was that inoffensive. A terrible nice lad,” said Mr Bland.
He said he had last seen Mr Dooley last Wednesday or Thursday. “He was just walking down the street, heading into town to do some shopping.”
Mr Bland said Mr Dooley had once attended a Christian Brothers School in Cork, and later taught braille to blind children at the institution.