Dad Ken missed his son and came home to be with him as he grew up
When Ken O'Brien was leaving Dublin Airport last July to fly back to Australia, his little son cried after him.
"Don't go, daddy," he said, bringing many of the rest of his family to tears.
Ken had flown home to celebrate his little lad's birthday with him, but it was time to go back to work.
A few weeks ago Ken was home again for Christmas, and according to sources close to the family he decided this time that his son would not cry after him anymore - he was going to stay in Ireland and be with him as he grew up.
Ballyfermot was reeling in shock yesterday as the news spread from home to home on Blackditch Road that it was Mr O'Brien who was found dismembered in the Grand Canal on Saturday.
Gardaí said that he had no links to crime.
He had been working as a mechanic and JCB driver and vanished last Friday after telling his family he was going to do some work down the country.
His mother, Sue, works in the local Shoe Zone shop.
"We are in complete shock. Sue knows everyone in the area and everyone knows her. We cannot believe that this has happened," said manager Stephen Mason.
Neighbour Peter Lynch said: "Ken was a quiet lad who kept himself to himself. He was a very pleasant individual and we were totally shocked to hear that it was him who was found in the canal. Our kids grew up with the O'Brien kids, and there was never a moment of trouble from any of them."
Further up the road, other neighbours said Ken was the last person they expected to be identified from the canal.
"He's gone out of here a good while now, and his parents moved away, but recently we heard they were trying to move back here," said one woman.
"I am disgusted at what was done to him after he was killed. Nobody deserves that.
"The O'Briens are respectable people. Why in the name of God did they have to do that to him?"
Peggy Birch remembers Ken well from when he was a young boy.
"They are a lovely, hard-working family. I don't know what to think," she said.