TRIBUTES have been paid to an elderly Catholic priest after he was named as the victim of a fatal hit-and-run incident in Co. Roscommon.
Dublin-based clergyman Fr Michael Guckian, 81, had been visiting his native Roscommon to attend the anniversary mass of a relative when he was struck down on a country road in the village of Keadue on Saturday night.
The "very well-liked" priest – who lived with the Oblate order at Mary Immaculate Parish in Inchicore, Dublin 8 – was pronounced dead at the scene at around 11pm.
The driver failed to stop at the scene, but a 20-year-old man later presented himself at Carrick-on-Shannon Garda Station.
Speaking to the Herald, Fr Guckian's niece described him as "a walking saint".
She added: "It's terrible... he was the most down-to-earth man.
"We are still getting the details but we're shocked."
'A big loss'
Fr Guckian reportedly spent around three decades working in the south of the Philippines as a mission worker before returning to Ireland in 1999.
Local Sinn Féin councillor Daithí Doolan said the cleric was "very popular" in the area.
"It's very sad, he was very popular and well-known in the community. The Oblates is the main church in the area and it's very central to the community there," he said.
"There are a lot of events on in the parish hall there and Fr Guckian always made sure the premises were open to everyone, regardless of their faith. He'll be a big loss to the community."
Emergency services were called after a passer-by spotted Fr Guckian's lifeless body on the road, according to reports.
A full forensic examination was carried out at the scene of the collision and Gardaí have appealed for witnesses to come forward.
A Garda spokesperson said: "Gardaí at Boyle Co Roscommon are investigating a fatal hit and run traffic collision which occurred in Keadue Co Roscommon at approximately 11pm, Saturday May 11 2019.
"A pedestrian, a man in his 80s, was fatally injured when he was struck by a car which failed to remain at the scene. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.
"The 20 year old male driver of the car later presented himself at Carrick-on-Shannon Garda Station."
Witnesses or anyone with information is asked to contact Boyle Garda Station on 071 966 4620, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666-111 or any Garda Station.