AN IRISH businessman died in a tragic accident on the holiday island of Tenerife when a railing in his apartment balcony gave way.
Father-of-three Robert Delves, from Rush, Co Dublin, was holidaying in the Canary Islands when he fell 10 metres (32ft) from the balcony.
Mr Delves, a director of family printing business Masterphoto in Dublin 4, suffered severe head injuries in the incident, which police are treating as a tragic accident.
The apartment is located on Calle Tenerife in the small resort town of El Medano, which is in the south of Tenerife.
Mr Delves (42) had only celebrated his birthday on Sunday.
Married to Ciara, he is the father three young children aged 12, four and two.
Mr Delves was a keen sportsman and a popular and respected coach at St Maurs GAA club in Rush.
"He was a very popular member of the club, and a very popular man locally," club vice-chair Owen McGinty said.
"He was the most inoffensive guy you would ever meet and a very hard worker. It's a terrible loss," Mr McGinty added.
He is a brother of Colm Delves, group chief executive with Digicel.
Emergency services were called to the apartment shortly after 1.20 yesterday morning.
It is believed that Mr Delves fell from the third-floor balcony after the handrail gave way.
He died at the scene, despite attempts by medical personnel to revive him.
A post-mortem was due to be carried out last night at Tenerife's Institute of Forensic Medicine in the capital, Santa Cruz. It is not clear when Mr Delves's body will be returned home.
The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed it was providing consular assistance through its embassy in Madrid.
Police said they were treating the death as a terrible accident.
A source at the Civil Guard in Tenerife said: "An ambulance was called at 1.30am this morning and paramedics tried to re-animate the 42-year-old holidaymaker but his vital signs were negative.
"Although we are still awaiting the outcome of the investigation, it is thought the accident was caused by a handrail on the balcony which gave way."
Leo Bisset, a friend of Mr Delves, said the close-knit coastal town of Rush was shattered and stunned by his death.
"Robert was an absolute gentleman, one the nicest you could ever meet," he said.
"He was a superb footballer and golfer.
"You would never ever hear a bad word about Robert or his family – lovely people."
Another St Maurs club member said he was a "lovely man, very quiet and very gentle". He added that he was involved in both the senior team, and in coaching younger players.
El Medano is close to Tenerife Airport but is not a popular tourist spot. The population is mostly resident year-round, but some Spaniards have holiday homes there.
Famous for windsurfing and watersports, it regularly hosts big international events, but only has two hotels.
It is believed that Mr Delves owned property in the area but it is not clear if he was the owner of the apartment where he died.
Tenerife is a popular winter sun destination for Irish tourists and the accident will bring into question local safety standards.