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Council acted in a ‘heartless manner’ – Deacy family

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TAKEN AWAY Mayo County Council said the memorial had no planning permission and was a visual distraction to motorists. 

Anton McNulty

THE family of the late Joe Deacy feel they are being discriminated against after two roadside memorials in his honour were removed by Mayo County Council, which in-turn stressed that it was due to road safety reason.
Relatives of 21-year-old Joe Deacy met with Noel Gibbons, the Road Safety Officer with Mayo County Council last Monday evening to ask why their roadside memorials to Joe were removed, while other memorials have not. They say they were informed that their memorials were removed because of their impact on road safety.
Two memorials in memory of Joe Deacy, who died in August 2017, were erected by family members over the Christmas, at locations close to where he was found dead. One of the memorials was placed along the N5 at Collagh, while the other was at the Kinaffe junction on the R320.
In a statement, the Deacy family feel that they have been treated in ‘a heartless manner’ by the council’s actions.
“The Deacy family would like to know why they have been discriminated against by Mayo County Council in such a heartless manner. The memorials were removed within 24 hours of informing the Deacy family by phone. Once again the Deacy family have become victims, their good family name has been dragged through the local and national media as a result of the actions of Mayo County Council,” they stated.

‘Receipt of complaints’
However, Mayo County Council said their actions were based on receipt of complaints over a six-month period, when a floral tribute was placed along the N5, and a car crash which took place at the location.
“Mayo County Council can confirm, after engagement with members of the Deacy family, the decision to the remove a N5 roadside memorial was taken following a review of the structure. The actions were based on the receipt of complaints over a six-month period and a road traffic collision at the location of the memorial, which could have resulted in a further loss of life.
“We sincerely sympathise with the family of Joe Deasy. We hope that our ongoing discussions will result in a satisfactory outcome that will be agreeable to all,” a council statement read.
Joe Deacy from St Alban’s, UK, and whose grandparents were from Swinford and Bohola, was found dead outside a house at Gortnasillagh, Swinford on August 12, 2017. He died as a result of head injuries which resulted in gardaí opening a murder investigation. Despite a number of subsequent arrests nobody has been charged with his killing.
On Thursday, January 17, members of the Deacy family were informed by Mayo County Council that the memorials would have to be removed. The following day, the memorials were removed by council staff and were returned to relatives of Mr Deacy who live in the area.

Other memorials remain
The family of Joe Deacy said they pointed out to the council that there are other memorials along the N5 which have not been removed and they felt there was no satisfactory reason given to remove the memorial at the Kinaffe junction.
“The Deacy family informed Mr Noel Gibbons of four other memorials between Castlebar and Swinford, one of which is right on a busy junction near Swinford. None of them have been removed nor is there any plans to remove them. Most of those memorials have been there for years. The memorials to Joe Deacy were in place for approximately two weeks.
“These memorials were a source of huge comfort to Joe’s many relations and friends who live in the vicinity of Bohola and surrounding areas where the memorials are sited. This had become a place where they could visit and pay their respects, as well as try to come to terms with the fact that Joe’s murderer(s) have still not been brought to justice,” the statement read.
Mayo County Council confirmed that an item regarding roadside memorials will be included on the agenda for Roads and Transport Strategic Policy Committee meeting, which will be held in February.