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‘There are nice people in this cruel world’


'MOST PRECIOUS SOUL' The late Tom Kennedy.

28-year-old Tom Kennedy murdered in Georgia

Michael Gallagher

A fund set up to repatriate the body of a young Lahardane man from Georgia in Eastern Europe has more than doubled its stated goal in just six days.
Tom Kennedy’s body was found in the Mtkvari River in the east of the country earlier this month and since then his family have been working tirelessly to bring him back to his home in the shadow of Nephin.
Tom’s cousin Olivia Barrett set up a GoFundMe page last week to raise €25,000 for his repatriation and yesterday evening (Monday) that fund stood at €58,976 after more than 1,600 donations.
Olivia said the family have been stunned by the generosity shown in such tragic circumstances.
“We, as a family are overwhelmed by everyone’s support and generosity. We have been shown there are nice people in this cruel world and we are saying thanks from the very bottom of our hearts,” Ms Barrett stated before describing what a special man her 28-year-old cousin was.
“Tom was the most precious soul you could ever meet. He was gentle, kind and funny. He loved traveling, climbing mountains and seeing beautiful views. He brought his guitar with him to Georgia as he was a singer-songwriter who busked on the streets of Galway, Cork, Castlebar, wherever he was.
“Everyone who knew him is devastated by his death but he will be dancing and singing in heaven, so proud his music is getting listened to,” she added.
Five men have been charged in connection with Mr Kennedy’s murder in Georgia and have been remanded in custody
Police said that the five defendants had been drinking at a bar with Thomas, who was a student at a local music college in the town of Gori, when a fight broke out.
They are accused of beating him and throwing him in the nearby Mtkvari River while he was unconscious. Thomas’s body was discovered the following day while his mobile phone was found at a pawnshop several days after his murder.
Four of the detainees are charged with premeditated murder, robbery, and one with failure to report a felony.
They have pleaded not guilty, and claim that the musician was not thrown into the water but that he fell into the river while fleeing.
The accused also say his mobile and credit card fell into the river but police say the defendants handed over a mobile phone to one of the town’s pawnshops for 350 GEL (€96).
Mr Kennedy was a talented footballer in his youth, captaining Lahardane MacHales to a North Mayo U-16 final victory over Ballycastle in 2009 and the club described him last week as ‘ever-smiling and one of the most chirpy lads around.’
The Kennedy family are hoping to have his body repatriated as soon as possible.