'Ray died fighting off attackers'

The late Ray Prendiville.
The late Ray Prendiville.

Donal Nolan

THE nephew of former Kerry footballer Ray Prendiville (pictured) believes his uncle died trying to fight off his attackers in Namibia on Friday.

THE nephew of former Kerry footballer Ray Prendiville (pictured) believes his uncle died trying to fight off his attackers in Namibia on Friday.

Mr Prendiville (60) was murdered in a vicious attack in the town of Walvis Bay on Friday just days after he arrived in Namibia on business.

The former garda was in the company of a work colleague at a flat he was staying in in the town when they were set upon by five armed men dressed in fatigues and wearing masks.

Mr Prendiville was a native of Dromulton in Scartaglin and was working for the logistics firm he co-owned, SMF Investments, when the attack occured.

"He was working escorting a delivery of salt on the day and had just returned when they were set upon by these guys and it seems that Ray took them on, but paid this awful price," nephew David O'Connor told The Kerryman.

"He was a great man. He was very soft but very strong at the same time and loved his family dearly. He was fearless in one way, but very soft in another and was full of roguery," Mr O'Connor added.

Mr Prendiville worked as a garda for most of his career, stationed in Dublin and Tramore, Co Waterford, up until his retirement from the force in the late 1980s.

The family say Mr Prendiville's decision to travel to Namibia when he did was a last-minute one. "He hadn't intended going out, but ended up going out at the last minute and then we heard that he had been killed. It's just an awful tragedy," he said.

A former inter county player with Kerry, Waterford and Meath, Mr Prendiville is best remembered here for the goal he scored for his native county in the semi final of the Munster Championship against Tipperary in Clonmel in 1975. He played full forward on the day, flanked by Kerry legends Mikey Sheehy and John Egan.

"He actually broke the goalie's hand when he scored, he was such an incredibly powerful player," David recalled. "It was fairly unbelieveable, in fact, that he was playing at all in 1975 as he very nearly died in a car crash in the Dublin mountains in 1972 after which he spent eight months in hospital recovering."

Tributes poured in for Mr Prendiville from GAA circles with a minute's silence held in his memory - and in Seamus Heaney's - prior to the All-Ireland semi-final on Sunday.

South Kerry Independent TD Tom Fleming was a classmate of Mr Prendiville's in Scartaglin and remained close friends with him. He remembered his friend with deep affection this week.

Pat Spillane, meanwhile extended his sympathies to the Prendiville family on RTE's Sunday Game before the semi-final on Sunday.

Mr Prendiville followed his family from Scartaglin to a Land Commission farm in Ratoath, Co Meath, where he lived until his fateful trip to the southern African state.

It is not known when his body is to be repatriated. A post mortem examination was carried out on his remains on Monday. Police in the region, meanwhile, are investigating five suspects they believe may have been responsible for the attack but no arrests were carried out as of midday on Tuesday.

Mr Prendiville is survived by children Anne, Mary, Clare, Raymond and Sean, wife Eilísh, siblings and relatives.


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