Tributes have been paid this afternoon (Friday) to Lanesboro man Padraig Gaffney who passed away earlier this week in Australia.
The 29-year-old died, just days after appearing in a Melbourne court charged with causing €500,000 in criminal damage to a hotel almost 12 months earlier.
Mr Gaffney pleaded guilty to the offence and was handed a $10,000 fine after setting off a fire hydrant at Melbourne’s Fraser Place Hotel.
Chief Judge Michael Rozenes said there was no malicious intent in the Longford native’s actions despite the construction worker admitting that he had been heavily intoxicated at the time.
It was a summation Mr Gaffney himself underlined as he expressed his deep regret over what happened.
“This entire thing has ruined my life completely,” he said.
“I’ve spent 10 years in Australia trying to better myself and in the space of one night everything can be taken away from you.
“People who go out for the night and drink too much can ruin themselves completely.”
Today, messages of support have been issued to the family of the Lanesboro man after he was found dead on Wednesday.
Local Councillor Mark Casey said news of Mr Gaffney’s untimely passing had numbed many sections of the local community.
“He (Mr Gaffney) would have played football for Rathcline and was a well got fella. It’s a big shock to people here,” he said.
It’s believed Mr Gaffney emigrated to Australia a number of years ago.
Local correspondent with the Longford Leader, Joe O’Brien said locals were still struggling to come to terms with the news.
“There is a lot of shock and sadness around because they (Gaffney’s) were well liked and much respected,” he said.
Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, meanwhile, are providing consular assistance to Mr Gaffney’s family.