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Tributes paid following death of Co Down beach attack victim Darren O'Neill (22)

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The incident happened on Tyrella beach (file photo)

The incident happened on Tyrella beach (file photo)

The incident happened on Tyrella beach (file photo)

Tributes have been paid to 22-year-old Darren O'Neill, who died in hospital following a "one-punch" assault on Tyrella Beach in Co Down.

The assault happened on the beach at around 7.30pm on Thursday.

Friends and family of Mr O'Neill, who was from Belfast, have taken to social media to offer their condolences.

His cousin Mick Kerr wrote: "After a hard fought lot of days, you gained your angel wings. To most people we were just cousins, but to me, you were a teacher and the big brother that never took your eyes off me.

"We know your going to be watching over us all and helping us to get through the hard days and showing us the light to the better days."

One friend, Paddy McIlwaine, described him as a "gentleman" who you "couldn't say a bad word about".

Shamrock Football Club said: "All at Shamrock FC would like to pass on their sincerest condolences to two of our ladies players, Danielle and Nikita O'Neill and their family on the untimely passing of their brother Darren O'Neill under such tragic circumstances. May he rest in peace."

Sinn Fein MP Chris Hazzard said the Co Down community is in shock following the young man's death.

“There is shock and sadness in the local community following the death of a 22 year-old man in an incident in Tyrella beach," he said.

“A police investigation is underway and that must be allowed to proceed. My thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of this young man at this tragic time.”

Former SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie said: "Deepest sympathies to the family of the young man, Darren O’Neill, who lost his life as a result of an incident at Tyrella Beach last week. Thoughts and prayers with all."

Detective Chief Inspector Darren McCartney appealed for information regarding the incident.

"I would like to offer my sympathy to the family and friends of Darren at this very sad time," he said.

"Our enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances surrounding Darren’s death and I would appeal to anyone who may have witnessed this incident or who has any information to contact detectives on 101 quoting reference number 1913 27/06/19.”

A post mortem examination will be carried out to determine the cause of death.

Detectives investigating the case have charged a 21-year-old man with grievous bodily harm in relation to the incident.

He is due to appear at Downpatrick Magistrates Court on Thursday, July 25. The charges will be reviewed by the PPS as is standard procedure.

Online Editors