THE WIDOWER of Michaela McAreavey has spoken for the first time of how he has found love again after his wife was killed while on their honeymoon in Mauritius three years ago.
John McAreavey said he ‘loves spending time’ with his new partner, fellow accountant and Kildare native Tara Brennan, but added his late wife will “always be a part of his life”.
“Myself and Tara get on really well and we’re really good friends,” the inter-county footballer told Pat Kenny on his Newstalk show this morning.
“That relationship continues to blossom and I am so thankful she came into my life, she’s a wonderful person and I love spending time with her.
“Michaela will always be a part of my life,” he continued.
“I don’t see Michaela as being completely lost. She’s just in a different place now and I know she is happy now.
“Times have been difficult but we have managed to get through it.”
John and Tara met each other in Dublin a year ago through their work. John took the Kildare woman to his lifelong friend’s wedding in Belfast before Christmas and the pair enjoyed a break in New York together in August.
John (33) credited his faith and relationship with God with getting his life back on track after the murder of his wife in their honeymoon resort in Mauritius in January 2011.
“The first number of months, I still felt like I was very much in shock,” he said of the death of Michaela.
“But I had great support from my family and friends and also my faith in God was my number one factor that got me through that period.
“It allowed me to start a new life, so to speak, and progress and not be consumed by that incident.
“What helps me be optimistic and hopeful is that I know where Michaela is now and I know she is very happy where she is.
“When you marry you lose your identity in a way and we were always ‘John and Michaela’,” he continued.
“After Michaela’s death, it was just me and when people saw me they just thought of the awful things that had happened.
“I had to start to reclaim my identity and think about things I was passionate about again – my work, my football, my faith and start building a new life.”
John also spoke of how he and his sister Clare have been keeping the pressure on the Mauritian authorities since the acquittal of the two men accused with Michaela’s murder.
“We’ve been working hard to keep pressure on the authorities and we’re in constant contact with the PSNI. It’s a long and slow process and you require patience, you can get frustrated really easily.
“I really do feel alone. We do have the support of the PSNI but that’s it. In Ireland you would always have someone in a victim support role filling you in with the details and progress of a case but we don’t have that.”
Since Michaela’s death, John has created the Michaela Foundation which is a charity that offers young people throughout Ireland the chance to join programmes tailored to establish a faith-filled life.
“There are retreats, workshops and summer camps,” he said.
“In 2012, we had one summer camp in Tyrone. Last year, we had seven and this year we have 13 in different counties around Ireland.
“You can’t anticipate the effect you have on these young people, but it’s great to see them expressing themselves and making new friends,” he said.