Sligo reeling from latest death but locals says sense of community is strong

Gardaí awaiting results of post mortem on Russell Ford who died while socialising

“Sligo is in a dark place but we will come out of it,”a leading local business man said yesterday as the town came to terms with another unexplained death.

The latest incident is unrelated to two recent murders which devastated the local community last week.

The man who died has been named locally as Russell Ford (39) from the Cranmore area. He passed away early on Thursday in Beaumont Hospital, following an incident which took place on Rockwood parade Sligo last Tuesday between 5pm and 6pm.

While the Garda press office has appealed for witnesses in relation to “a serious assault” that occurred at Rockwood Parade, local sources said officers would also be examining whether the man sustained injuries after falling.


A video was being widely circulated yesterday which appeared to suggest this might be the case. A Garda spokesman said that a post mortem would be conducted and the results “ will direct the further course of the investigation”.

The deceased is understood to have been socialising with a group of friends in the riverside location when he sustained serious injuries.

His death shocked a community still reeling after the murders of popular local residents Michael Snee and Aidan Moffitt who were both buried on Monday.

Sligo town based People Before Profit councillor Gino O’Boyle who knew the deceased described the death as “another sad loss for the Sligo community”.

Anthony Gray, former President of the Restaurant Association of Ireland and owner of two restaurants on Rockwood parade , said the community of Sligo was numb following recent events, but they did not define the town.

“Sligo is in a dark place but we will come out of it,”said the owner of the Eala Bhan and Hooked restaurants.

“It is just harrowing stuff,” added Mr Gray who said that he knew all families involved in recent events.

Pat Forde CEO of the North Connaught branch of Youth Work Ireland which has its offices on Rockwood parade called for a more visible Garda presence in the area and also for clarification on the by-laws governing outdoor drinking. Mr Forde emailed gardaí in Sligo in January expressing concern at the level of outdoor drinking on this stretch of the river bank where many restaurants and pubs are located.

Mr Forde said the outdoor drinking was still visible throughout the day on Thursday despite the recent tragedy. “It is something we need to be vigilant about,” he said.

Gardaí have asked anyone who was in the Rockwood Parade area on Tuesday between 5pm and 6.15pm to contact Sligo Garda station on (071) 915 7000; the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station. Investigating gardaí also appealed to anyone who may have camera or dash cam footage from the area to make it available.

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh, a contributor to The Irish Times, reports from the northwest of Ireland