Family of murdered GAA player call for justice after year of 'living hell'

Hundreds walk with family to remember Joe Deacy who was murdered in Co Mayo

 Adrian and Alison Deacy and their daughter Charlotte lead a group of family and friends to the house where  Joe’s  body was found in 2017. Photograph: Keith Heneghan

Adrian and Alison Deacy and their daughter Charlotte lead a group of family and friends to the house where Joe’s body was found in 2017. Photograph: Keith Heneghan

 

The father of Joe Deacy, who was murdered in Co Mayo last year, has appealed to anyone with knowledge of what happened to his “beautiful boy” to come forward on the anniversary of his death.

The 21-year-old English GAA player, who was third generation Irish and on what was to have been a two-week visit, was found unconscious from head wounds by a passerby around 6.45am on August 11th, 2017, in the townland of Gortnasillagh, near Swinford.

He was the only son of Adrian and Alison Deacy and sister to Charlotte. His family travelled to Ireland to attend a first anniversary memorial Mass on Sunday in the Church of the Immaculate Conception and St Joseph, Bohola.

Mr Deacy said his son had “died in a manner not befitting an animal”.

At Sunday’s Mass, celebrated by Fr Stephen O’Mahony, Mr Deacy described the last year as “a living hell for his family”.

He told an overflowing congregation, which included more than 120 people who had travelled from Hertfordshire, that there was “no light at the end of the tunnel”.

Joe was rushed to Mayo University Hospital, Castlebar, and later to Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, where he died two days later from his injuries.

No charges

Despite an intensive Garda investigation, which is ongoing, nobody has ever been charged with the murder.

The Deacy family believe someone is withholding information which could lead to a breakthrough in the case.

Mr Deacy urged mourners that instead of praying for Joe they should redirect their prayers “to those who know what happened my beautiful boy”.

He continued: “Without doubt [they] are also suffering . . . hopefully someone, somewhere, possibly in this parish, will have the courage to come forward.”

Telling the congregation of his son’s love for Mayo, Mr Deacy said that instead of sun holidays he loved to travel every year to the county of his grandfather’s birth, revelling in “football, chicken stew, beer and the craic”.

Indeed, Joe often expressed a wish that his employers in England would open an office in Castlebar so that he could relocate there.

Following the memorial Mass, hundreds of locals were joined by representatives of St Colmcille’s GAA Club in Hertfordshire to walk with the family to the location where Joe was found.

A wreath, accompanied by a tribute poem, was laid at the spot.

They carried placards which proclaimed “Justice for Joe” and “Someone Knows What Happened”, before attending a memorial GAA match in the dead man’s honour in nearby Swinford.