Mayo council tells dead man’s family to remove roadside memorials

Joe Deacy (21), from England, died suspiciously near Swinford in August 2017

Joseph Deacy (21), from St Albans in  England,  died after suffering head injuries in Co Mayo in  August 2017.

Joseph Deacy (21), from St Albans in England, died after suffering head injuries in Co Mayo in August 2017.


The family of a young man who died suspiciously in Co Mayo 18 months ago has criticised a request by the local authority for memorials to him to be removed from the roadside.

Joe Deacy (21), from St Alban’s in England, was found with head injuries outside a house at Gortnasillagh, Swinford on August 12th, 2017 and later died. A number of people have been questioned about his suspicious death but nobody has ever been charged over it.

The Deacy family, who are regular visitors to Co Mayo, have erected memorials to Joe on the N5 Longford to Westport route near Swinford, which Mayo County Council has said should be taken down as they do not have planning permission and represent “a visual distraction to passing motorists”.

The family say similar modestly sized monuments have been allowed to remain in place by local authorities across the State.

Adrian Deacy, Joe’s father, apologised for not seeking planning permission but said the council’s decision had added to his family’s grief.

In a statement, he said the memorials “became a source of huge comfort to Joe’s many relations and friends who live in the vicinity of Bohola”.


“It has been 18 months since my son was put down in a manner not befitting an animal, let alone a human being, so the least we would like to do now is to allow all of the people that knew and loved Joe, plus the many others from all over Mayo that have expressed their kindness and sympathy to our family, to be allowed to continue to pay their respects in this manner.”

The Deacy’s say the suggestion that the memorials pose a distraction to motorists is wrong as they are at ground level and “barely visible” from passing cars.

The council confirmed it had asked that the memorials be removed. “We respect the desire of grieving families to erect such monuments to loved ones but safety of all road users is a top priority.”

Cllr Michael Kilcoyne said the council’s request was “grossly insensitive”.

The issue of roadside memorials is to be discussed by the council’s roads and transport committe soon.