We won’t give up

Joe deacys family will never give up

The family of a Gaelic footballer from St Albans in Hertfordshire who was murdered in Co Mayo a year ago have appealed for fresh information into his death.

Joe Deacy, 21, died on 12 August 2017 while on holiday visiting friends and family.

The St Colmcilles GAA club footballer was found outside a house in Gortnasillagh, near Swinford, with head injuries.

He was taken to Mayo University Hospital and then to Beaumont Hospital where he died.

Joe’s father Adrian, his mother Alison and his sister Charlotte travelled to Ireland last weekend to mark the first anniversary of Joe’s death. They were joined by 120 people who had made the journey from Hertfordshire.

Speaking at a memorial Mass on Sunday in the Church of the Immaculate Conception and St Joseph, Bohola, in Co Lissaniska, Adrian told the congregation that the last year had been “a living hell” for his family.

Joe deacys family will never give up

He added that his son “died in a manner not befitting an animal” and that there was “no light at the end of the tunnel”.

Joe’s father also appealed for information to help find his son’s killer, asking mourners to pray for “those who know what happened to my beautiful boy”.

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

He also spoke warmly of Joe, and his love of Mayo where he revelled in the “football, chicken stew, beer and the craic”.

Family and friends then walked to the house where Joe was found in Gortnasillagh to lay a wreath, accompanied by a tribute poem, and a decade of the Rosary was recited.

They carried placards proclaiming, ‘Justice for Joe’ and ‘Someone Knows What Happened’.

Joe deacys family will never give up

Joe, whose grandfather came from Bohola, often visited the county and was an enthusiastic supporter of the Mayo football team, regularly travelling to Ireland to watch them play.

A Memorial Gaelic Football Match then took place at the Swinford Community Ground with St Colmcilles taking on ‘The Hammers’, a team made up of Joe’s friends and family.

The ‘Hammers’ team wore a special jersey for the game with Joe’s name on the back.

Joe had been socialising with friends in a pub in Kiltimagh before returning to a friend’s house where he was staying.

The following morning, a passing cyclist spotted his body lying face down outside of the house he was staying in, in Swinford, and alerted the emergency services.

Gardai suspect his attacker may have followed him back to the house before assaulting him.

Joe deacys family will never give up

No one has been charged with his murder.

In November, two men aged in their 20s were arrested by Gardaí but later released without charge.

Earlier this year, members of Joe’s family appeared on RTÉ’s Crimecall programme to appeal for anyone with information to come forwards.

In May, a man in his 20s was detained at Claremorris Garda Station but also released without charge.

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In memory of Joe Deacy

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