President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to the elderly Irish man who was brutally stabbed to death in London.
Mr Higgins extended his sympathies to the family of Thomas O’Halloran (87), who was attacked while driving his mobility scooter near his home in Greenford, west London, on Tuesday afternoon.
Mr O’Halloran was originally from Ennistymon, Co Clare, but had been living in Britain for more than 70 years.
The President also extended his sympathy to the Irish community living in London.
He said: “I can only imagine the deep shock that his family and his friends are experiencing and may I convey my heartfelt condolences to them all.
“The grief that they will be feeling, I can share. It is so difficult to understand why and how such a terrible crime could occur to someone so altruistically minded and indeed cherished in his local community in Greenford.
“May I pay tribute to that generosity and kindness that Thomas showed in his life, as well as to Thomas’s musical talent which he shared so freely, most recently in support of those impacted by the situation in Ukraine.
“I hope that Thomas’s family and friends can draw strength from the legacy of kindness he leaves to the wider Irish community in Britain, of which he was a member for so long.
“Sabina joins me in renewing our deepest condolences to all of those who loved and cared for Thomas. May he rest in peace. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam lámhach.”
The Irish Ambassador to Britain Adrian O’Neill tweeted: “I wish to express our deep sadness on the cruel murder of Irish citizen Thomas O’Halloran in Greenford. I know that the wider Irish community in London shares that sense of shock and outrage.”
A video showing Mr O’Halloran playing Boolavogue on his accordion outside a Tesco in February has gone viral. Mr O’Halloran was then trying to raise money for the people of Ukraine.
The Irish community in London is gathering on Sunday at 10am to remember Mr O’Halloran. The gathering takes place at Cayton Road in Greenford, where the attack happened.
Those attending are asked to wear their county/club colours if they have them.
A GoFundMe page set up to pay for Mr O’Halloran’s funeral has already raised more than £5,000.
It was set up by his neighbour Skye Dunnage, who said Mr O’Halloran was a “lovely man and well known in the Greenford area. He was always polite, kind and funny and still had plenty of life left in him.
“Many of you locally would have known Tom for playing instruments, busking in train stations and around the Greenford area to feed his family and also to raise money for Ukraine.
“Tom was a caretaker of a rubbish dump for many years until he retired. Tom was a grandad and a dad and very much a family man, hence the reason why he was out busking for his family in hard times.”