Thursday 13 December 2018

'We cannot grasp it ... there wasn't a bad bone in his body'

Pallaskenry publican Eric Clancy. Photo: Press 22
Pallaskenry publican Eric Clancy. Photo: Press 22

David Raleigh in Pallaskenry

Helen Lynch's agonising loud cries reverberated in a haunting echo around the quiet main street.

Comforted by family members, she watched in disbelief as gardaí emerged from her son Willie's home carrying his remains to a waiting hearse.

Willie's younger brother Gerry (29) was being questioned by gardaí who are treating William's death as murder.

Another brother, Danny, was being comforted by friends.

Gardaí believe Willie died after being stabbed in his two-storey townhouse terraced property in Pallaskenry, Co Limerick.

The village has been left reeling from the tragedy.

The victim's mother posted on Facebook that her "heart is torn into pieces".

Local publican Eric Clancy, a close friend of Willie, summed up everyone's feelings: "It's the worst event ever to happen in the history of Pallaskenry.

"He was a lovely guy, and it's hard to believe it. I feel very low.

"He was supposed to play pool last night. He was looking forward to it," he said, fighting back tears.

Willie was a cool hand at pool, and had organised the 'Kenry' Pool League for the past number of years, winning the singles event on a number of occasions.

Having grown up in the GAA heartland of Ballybrown, he played for the Limerick U-14 team in the All-Ireland Club Championships.

He moved to Pallaskenry in the late 1990s and was instrumental in winning silverware for the local junior hurling side in the mid-2000s.

Locals described him as a "gentleman" who was always available to help anyone in need.

He took photos and videos of tractors as a hobby, and had worked for local silage contractors.

Just prior to his death he had a part-time Christmas job at the ice skating rink in Limerick city.

"He was a pure gentle person. He was very talented, no matter what he did ... hurling, football, soccer, darts and pool. He was super," Mr Clancy said.

He recalled that Willie's mother had come into the pub after learning of her son's death.

"She started crying, and someone asked her what was wrong. She said 'my son is dead' ... We thought he might have had a heart attack or something, but no, it turned out to be far worse than that."

Paying tribute to Willie, he said: "He was a right character in the place.

"Last night the pub was in total silence. We couldn't grasp it. He was always doing things for other people. There wasn't a bad bone in his body."

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News