Tuesday 20 November 2018

Memorial to young GAA fan who died of head injuries vandalised in Mayo

The late Joseph Deacy pictured with Mayo footballer Lee Keegan
The late Joseph Deacy pictured with Mayo footballer Lee Keegan

Payu Tiwari

Gardai in Mayo have launched an investigation after the memorial of a man who died of a "significant head wound" last year was vandalised on Wednesday night.

Joseph Deacy, who was third-generation Irish, was subjected to a fatal assault while on a two-week holiday in his ancestral home of Swinford, Co Mayo.

Adrian Deacy hugs daughter Charlotte at a memorial for Joe. Photo : Keith Heneghan
Adrian Deacy hugs daughter Charlotte at a memorial for Joe. Photo : Keith Heneghan

He was discovered outside a house at Gortnasillagh, Swinford, Co Mayo, at around 6am on Saturday, August 13, 2017.

He subsequently died in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, two days after he was found in the street.

An inquest found that a "significant head wound" was the cause of his death.

Friends of Joe had placed flowers and other tributes to him this week on the N5 near Bohola in Mayo to mark a year since his passing.

Joseph Deacy was found dead in Mayo. Pics from St Colmcille's/Facebook
Joseph Deacy was found dead in Mayo. Pics from St Colmcille's/Facebook

The Garda have said that the vandalism occurred sometime between 9pm on August 15 and the morning of August 16 this week. The case is being investigated by the Gardai in Swinfield.

Yesterday morning, MidWest Radio tweeted photographs showing what happened:

Despite an intensive Garda investigation, which is ongoing, nobody has ever been charged in connection with Joe’s death.

Two men were arrested in connection to Joe's death, but both were released without charge.

Joseph Deacy died of serious head injuries
Joseph Deacy died of serious head injuries

Last week, Joe’s family travelled from England to attend a Mass that marked the one-year anniversary of Joe’s death. The mass was attended by a large number of people.

The Deacy family believe someone is withholding information that could lead to a breakthrough in the murder case and has urged people to come forward.

At the mass, Joe’s father Adrian Darcy appealed for anyone with any information on his son’s death to come forward and say something.

He said: “Someone knows what happened to my beautiful boy.”

Mr Deacy urged mourners that instead of praying for Joe, they should redirect their prayers "to those who know what happened my beautiful boy".

"Without doubt (those persons) are also suffering. Hopefully someone, somewhere, possibly in this parish, will have the courage to come forward."

Following the memorial mass, hundreds of people - many of them from St Colmcille's GAA Club in Hertfordshire, for whom Joe Deacy played with distinction - joined locals in walking with the family to the location where the young footballer was discovered.

They carried placards which proclaimed, 'Justice for Joe' and 'Someone Knows What Happened" before dispersing later to a memorial GAA match in the dead youth's honour in nearby Swinford.

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