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Family vow to continue ‘Justice for Joe’ campaign

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SOLIDARITY Saturday last marked the fifth anniversary of the murder of Joe Deacy and family and friends took part in a memorial walk to the house at Gortnasillagh near Swinford where Joe was found dying in August 2017. Pic: Conor McKeown

Events in Mayo mark fifth anniversary of death of 21-year-old

Michael Gallagher

The determination to find Joe Deacy’s killer grows stronger with every passing day. That was the message delivered by family members over the weekend when they gathered at a number of events to mark the fifth anniversary of the 21-year-old’s death.
Mr Deacy, from St Albans in England was discovered dying in the driveway of a house in Gortnasillagh near Swinford in the early hours of August 12, 2017. He had been the victim of an alleged assault and passed away in hospital the following day.
The death caused huge shock throughout Mayo and while the gardai have worked hard on the case, a wall of silence has hindered their progress. This has been hugely frustrating for the grieving family, but there’s a growing sense that a breakthrough will be soon achieved according to Joe’s uncle, Paul Deacy.
“Someone, somewhere will speak out soon, I’m optimistic about that. It’s five years since we lost Joe and that’s a relatively short space of time in some ways but it is a long time to hold a burden of guilt.
“Somebody asked me how I would react if I knew my brother or friend had killed someone and I answered honestly, I might not grass them up but I would push them very hard to hand themselves in and assure them of whatever help they needed to deal with what was coming at them.”
A series of events took place over the weekend to remember the young man who was a fanatical Mayo GAA follower and it attracted support from across the community.
Fr Charlie McDonnell, the administrator of Westport parish prayed with family and friends in Murrisk on Friday afternoon before they began a memorial climb of Croagh Patrick.
“We ask almighty God to help this grieving family and give others the strength to come forward and be truthful about what has happened. The power of man has not solved this awful case - now we put our trust in the power of God and I look forward to welcoming you all back here again very shortly to give thanks for bringing your suffering to an end.”
Former Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Cllr Brendan Mulroy climbed Croagh Patrick with the Deacy group on Friday before attending a walk to the place where Joe was found in the early hours of August 12, 2017. On Saturday afternoon he was on the sideline at the Connacht Centre of Excellence in Bekan where a memorial football match took place in the NUIG Airdome.
Mulroy addressed the gathering and pledged ongoing support for the ‘Justice For Joe’ campaign.
“It’s simple really - a young man was killed in our midst and we will keep working until this family receive justice. Some people think this will fade away but I can tell them, the opposite is the case, the campaign gets stronger with every passing day and we’ll keep highlighting this every single chance we get. this could be any of our families. It could be any of us grieving our loved one - needing answers and never giving up until the truth comes out,” said Cllr Mulroy.