Grieving O'Connor puts election bid on hold after son's death
FIANNA Fail local election candidate Charlie O'Connor has put his campaign on hold in order to mourn the tragic loss of his son Robert.
The young actor was found dead at a property in Rialto, Dublin, on Saturday night – just weeks before he was due to appear in a new film.
His father, who is a declared candidate in the local elections, learned of the news of his son's death just minutes after celebrating Easter Mass in Tallaght.
After leaving the church, he discovered he had a number of missed calls on his mobile phone from a local community garda, Robert's partner Aine and several constituents.
Mr O'Connor said he and his family are now preparing themselves for the "nightmare scenario" of burying Robert (35).
The death has come just four weeks before the local elections and may impact upon Mr O'Connor's decision to run.
The former Dublin South West TD is also a potential candidate in a future by-election, which will be triggered by the expected election of junior minister Brian Hayes to the European Parliament.
Mr O'Connor said last night that he believed his son would have wanted him to remain on the local election ticket but that his sole focus was now providing support to his grieving family.
"We've lost a very special guy who had so much going for him. He was extremely talented and caring and would have done anything for his daughter and family," he told the Irish Independent.
"My priority now is my family, and everything else, including the local elections, are very much on hold.
"I'll make a decision on that in due course but losing Robert is the only thing on my mind right now."
While the cause of Robert's death has not yet been established, no foul play is suspected.
Mr O'Connor said that he had been inundated with messages of condolence from individuals based in Leinster House who met Robert during his time working there.
"So many people in Leinster House fell in love with Robert's personality.
"The sheer level of messages I've been receiving is extraordinary," he added.
Robert O'Connor studied at the Gaiety School of Acting and the Betty Ann Norton School of Drama.
He appeared in a number of productions, including the films 'The Nixer', 'Rural Heat' and 'Portrait of a Zombie', and on stage in 'Down The Flats', 'Hatchet' and 'Give us a Break'.