Thursday 17 October 2019

Community in shock at death of David Hasslacher

A kind, considerate gentleman who was a highly regarded member of the community

The late David Hasslacher
The late David Hasslacher

Brendan Keane

People throughout Enniscorthy are trying to come to terms this week with the sudden, tragic death at the weekend of David Hasslacher.

Living in Clonhaston, he was one of the most well-known and highly regarded people in the town. A descendant of the Roche family who were renowned malters in Enniscorthy, he was the last person to reside in Enniscorthy castle.

A long time supporter of the Ferns diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes Mr Hasslacher was an invaluable volunteer on the trip each year.

Eamonn Doran, who is the official photographer for the pilgrimage, said the news of his friend's passing came as a 'great shock'.

'He was always involved in some act of mercy because that was the type of person he was,' said Mr Doran.

'He travelled to Lourdes as a helper for many years,' he added.

In addition to his direct work the Ferns pilgrimage Mr Hasslacher was also a Lourdes Stagiaire and in that capacity he used to travel to Lourdes one week ahead of the Ferns group and do work with other international pilgrimages.

'The diocese of Ferns has about 50 Lourdes stagiaires and David was one of those,' said Mr Doran.

Mr Hasslacher travelled on the pilgrimage for almost 30 years and he had a particular affinity for young people.

While in Lourdes he would meet up with international youth groups and address them in his capacity as a life coach.

One particular group that he regularly met up with is the Swiss Romande organisation whose members he met with each year.

'He was a lovely man who was very concerned about youth related issues in particular,' said Mr Doran.

Describing him as an insightful individual he said he was a meaningful communicator and that his loss has devastated everyone who knew him.

'He was very gregarious and outgoing and he was very popular in Lourdes as well,' he said.

'He was very kind-hearted and he will be very much missed.'

Mr Hasslacher was also a valued member and lifelong supporter of Enniscorthy Rugby Club and its president, Andrew Owen, told this newspaper that everyone involved with the organisation is 'deeply saddened' by his passing,

In a statement issued on behalf of the club Mr Owen said: 'David was a lifelong member and a great supporter of the club. On the sporting front, David was one of the founding members of underage Rugby in Enniscorthy and was always a great supporter of all the young members in the club.'

Mr Hasslacher played with Enniscorthy in the 1960s and he represented the club proudly at junior interprovincial level.

'David also gave of his personal time to support others whenever needed,' said Mr Owen, in the statement.

'He was a true gentleman, who never missed a match, and he will be greatly missed by his many friends in Enniscorthy Rugby Club.'

Minister Paul Kehoe also paid tribute to Mr Hasslacher who worked with him on all of his election campaigns.

'I was truly shocked to hear of his passing,' said Minister Kehoe.

'I knew him for a number of years and he canvassed with me on my election campaigns,' he added.

Describing him as a 'very generous man' Minister Kehoe said he first got to know him through his involvement with the Ferns diocesan pilgrimages to Lourdes.

Ms Hasslacher used to help with all aspects of the pilgrimage but in particular with disabled pilgrims.

'He was always willing to help and assist people whenever he could and he was very involved in community life in Enniscorthy,' said Minister Kehoe.

'He was a life coach as well and I had the privilege of speaking at one of his events,' he added.

Life coaching was something that Mr Hasslacher concentrated on a lot in recent years and in that role he gave advice and support to many different youth groups in the Enniscorthy area.

His charitable and caring nature along with his love of his home town saw him bequeath many very important family documents to Wexford County Council as part of the local authority's county heritage archives.

Enniscorthy Guardian