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'Unassuming' mature student stabbed to death in front of his partner and her children

Man charged and due to appear before Ennis District Court this morning

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Eoin Boylan

Eoin Boylan

Probe: Members of the Clare Garda divisional search team and dog unit conducting a search along the River Fergus. Photo: Press 22

Probe: Members of the Clare Garda divisional search team and dog unit conducting a search along the River Fergus. Photo: Press 22

A member of Clare Civil Defence searches for the weapon believed to have been used in the fatal stabbing of Eoin Boylan. Photo: Press 22

A member of Clare Civil Defence searches for the weapon believed to have been used in the fatal stabbing of Eoin Boylan. Photo: Press 22

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Eoin Boylan

A man who died in a brutal stabbing was attacked in front of his partner and her three children, it has emerged.

Eoin Boylan, of Gordon Drive, Cloughleigh Estate, Ennis, Co Clare, was rushed to hospital by paramedics but died en route.

The 32-year-old was a mature student in Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) and yesterday neighbours and friends recalled him as kind, gentle and unassuming.

It's understood the fitness enthusiast was at home in the house he shared with his partner when the suspect gained access to the property shortly before 3pm on Tuesday.

A source said one theory is a struggle ensued as Mr Boylan tried to protect his partner from the suspect, who is known to her.

A short time after the incident, a man in his late 30s was arrested by gardaí.

A neighbour provided medical assistance to Mr Boylan at the scene before paramedics arrived.

It is understood Mr Boylan had only moved to the area within the last two months.

Neighbours yesterday recalled him as "pleasant and friendly".

One woman who witnessed the aftermath of the horrific incident said the community was stunned by the tragedy.

"I saw the ambulance arriving, and I immediately thought it must be someone sick with the coronavirus. I didn't hear any commotion before that," she said.

"They brought him out a couple of minutes later on what looked like a wheelchair.

"His poor girlfriend and the kids were all outside looking into the ambulance, and then all the police started arriving.

"I didn't realise what happened until another neighbour said it.

"The ambulance was parked outside for a good while, and I just kept praying for him.

"I saw one of the children on the footpath, and I was about to bring him inside here when a guard came and brought him into another house.

"I can't believe what's happened," she added.

"I only knew him to see, but he had a nice way about him.

"He was friendly and pleasant. I know his girlfriend well, and I was so happy she met someone nice.

"For this to happen is a nightmare for her. God rest him."

A post-mortem on the remains of Mr Boylan has been completed, but the results are not being released for operational reasons.

A divisional search team found a knife in bushes within a kilometre of the scene, but it is not known if it is the weapon used in the offence.

Gardaí, including members of the sub-aqua unit and the dog unit, are assisting local gardaí with the search.

A suspect in the killing was arrested a short time after the attack and was being questioned at Ennis Garda Station last night.

The arrested man was detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984 and has since been charged.

He is due to appear before Ennis District Court this morning.

Mr Boylan's sister Aoife paid tribute to gardaí and the paramedics who battled to save her brother.

In a Facebook post, Aoife Boylan wrote: "I want to say a huge thank you to the gardaí of Ennis and the paramedics who assisted my brother and helped my family in our time of distress and need, we will be forever grateful."

Mr Boylan was a fitness enthusiast and was skilled in martial arts, in particular taekwondo.

He was a member of Banner Martial Arts and Fitness club.

A spokesman for the club paid a moving tribute.

"We have lost one of our own. We have received word that our friend and student, Eoin Boylan, was killed. It is too soon to use many words.

"Those of you who knew Eoin will know that there are few people in the world less deserving of cruelty than Eoin.

"The embodiment of kindness and humility, Eoin was a determined student and a generous friend.

"Please hold Eoin and his family in your prayers."

Local priest Fr Ger Fitzgerald also expressed his sympathy.

"Today in Cloughleigh we watched helplessly, silently and even tearfully as Eoin Boylan, a young man with much to live for, passed from our world to eternity beyond.

"Today we were witnesses to the very worst of human nature," he said.

Irish Independent