TRIBUTES have been paid to an Irish soldier who drowned after getting into difficulty while swimming in a Limerick river on Monday afternoon.
Aaron Buckley, 22, from Clara in Co. Offaly, has been named locally as the man who died after entering the Abbey River near Baal's Bridge by the city's Absolute Hotel shortly after 1pm yesterday.
The young Defence Forces member had been swimming with a friend, who managed to make it ashore and raise the alarm at around 2pm.
Tragically, Mr Buckley's body was recovered from the River Shannon near Arthur's Quay at around 6pm following a multi-agency search and rescue operation.
According to his online obituary notice, Mr Buckley – who was also a talented Gaelic footballer – is survived by his parents Alvin and Edel, brothers Gavin and Noah, sister Jemma, and grandparents Pat and Ann Egan and Michael and Ann Buckley.
Taking to Facebook, Mr Buckley's club Erin Rovers GAA passed on their "sincere condolences" to his family and friends.
"Aaron was a very talented young footballer and was part of the team which won the intermediate title in 2017," they said.
"Not alone was he a very talented footballer, he was also a very down to earth man who was always in good form and had a smile on his face.
"He will be a huge loss around the club not just for the football but for the man he was.
"He will be sadly missed by all his team mates, committee members, supporters and from all who knew him. May he rest in peace."
Others described the news of Mr Buckley's death as "devastating" and "heartbreaking".
One Twitter user wrote: "So sad RIP Aaron condolences to all your family and friends at home and in the Defence Forces Limerick".
Another added: "RIP Aaron, such a tragedy. Thoughts are with your family at this awful time. Such a lovely man you were."
Gardaí are treating the death as a tragic accident and a post-mortem was due to be carried out at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) today.
Funeral details for Mr Buckley are yet to be announced.