Family vows to never stop seeking justice for murdered GAA player on first anniversary of the tragedy
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Family vows to never stop seeking justice for murdered GAA player on first anniversary of the tragedy

THE family of a young man who was murdered while on holiday in Ireland have renewed their appeal for information on the anniversary of his death.

Joe Deacy, from St Albans in Hertfordshire, was killed while visiting his family’s hometown of Swinford in Co. Mayo last year.

The 21-year-old sportsman, who played for the St Colmcilles GAA club in St Albans, was an avid Mayo GAA fan and a regular visitor to the town of Swinford, which his family claim he considered “his second home”.

While visiting in 2017, he was discovered seriously injured outside a house in Gortnasillagh on Saturday, August 12, 2017.

He was rushed to Mayo University Hospital before being transferred to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, where he was pronounced dead on the evening of August 13.

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MURDER INVESTIGATION

A post-mortem examination showed that he had suffered severe head injuries and Gardaí launched a murder investigation.

Despite regular appeals for witnesses and information, by both the Gardaí and the Deacy family, the person responsible for his death has yet to be found.

This week, as the Deacy family prepare to mark the one year anniversary of the tragedy, they pledged to never give up their campaign to secure justice for Joe.

“In August 2017 we as a family suffered the tragic loss of Joseph Deacy murdered in Swinford, Co Mayo, Ireland whilst he was on holiday in a place that he considered his second home and somewhere he held so close to his heart,” they told The Irish Post.

“Joseph was only 21 when he was cruelly taken from us and without a doubt he had a huge future ahead of him.”

WALL OF SILENCE

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They added: “As the first anniversary of Joe’s death approaches there is still no explanation why this happened to such a kind-hearted, respected and well-liked young man.

“Presently, there still hasn’t been any person brought to justice for this crime, the investigation continues, and the case remains very much open.

“We as a family have regular contact with the Garda Síochána and there is still a belief that the case will be solved.

“We are confident the wall of silence surrounding the murder will in time show signs of distress and the people and community of Gortnasillagh, just outside of Swinford, who are fully aware of what happened, will come forward and explain the facts behind the needless murder of Joe.”

FIRST ANNIVERSARY

A memorial Mass and GAA match, marking the anniversary of Joe’s death, are due to be held in Swinford this weekend.

The Mass will take place at Bohola Parish Church on Sunday, August 12 at 11.30am.

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Following the mass flowers will be placed at the location where Joe’s body was found in Gortnasillagh.

A GAA match, organised by Joe’s friends in Mayo and his home team St Colmcilles, will be played at 2pm that day at the Swinford Amenity Ground.

“The game has been arranged by Joe’s closest friends as a mark of their respect and as a fitting tribute to a sadly lost friend and teammate,” Joe’s family explained.

'WE ARE BROKEN-HEARTED'

“The game will let the world know that Joe will never be forgotten by any of his family or friends.

“He will always be in our thoughts and his loss has left us, his family and his wide circle of friends, truly broken-hearted.”

Regarding the time that has passed since Joe’s death, they said: “Over the last year we have tried to keep the murder uppermost in people’s minds in the belief that it will prick someone’s conscious to share information on what happened.”

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And they remain determined to continue their campaign for justice - no matter how long it takes.

“Eventually the time will come that the pretence of hiding from what happened and trying to lead a normal life will prove intolerable and this will remain the sole aim of all the Deacy family until Justice is served,” they added.