Tributes have been paid to a talented young footballer and former soldier who died tragically in a drowning incident in Limerick city yesterday.
The deceased, named locally as Aaron Buckley, from Clara, Co Offaly, died after getting into difficulty while swimming in the Abbey River, close to the Absolute Hotel, shortly after 1pm.
Mr Buckley, (22), a former member of the Defence Forces, was swept under the surface in a fast flowing current after he entered the water in the vicinity of Baal’s Bridge, Harry’s Mall.
A friend of Mr Buckley’s who was with him at the time, but who did not enter the water, alerted emergency services and a major search operation swung into action led by swift water rescue crews attached to Limerick City Fire and Rescue Service.
Mr Buckley’s body was recovered shortly before 6pm near Arthur’s Quay, by members of Limerick Marine Search and Rescue, assistant by the Limerick Land Search Team and gardai.
A post mortem is due to take place at University Hospital Limerick and a file prepared for the Limerick City Coroner’s Office.
The much-loved Offaly native is survived by his “loving parents Alvin and Edel, brothers Gavin and Noah, sister Jemma, and his grandparents Pat and Ann Egan and Michael and Ann Buckley,” according to an obituary notice published online.
In a message posted on its Facebook page, Mr Buckley’s GAA Club Erin Rovers, passed on its “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. 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,” wrote a spokesperson for the club.
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 mate, committee members, supporters, and from all who knew him. May He Rest In Peace.
Others responding to the club’s statement passed on their sympathy to Mr Buckley’s loved ones.
One described the news of his death as “devastating”, and others posted a single broken heart emoji.
“RIP Aaron, such a tragedy. Thoughts are with your family at this awful time. Such a lovely man you were,” wrote one friend.
“Our whole community is in shock and heartbroken,” they added.
“So sad RIP Aaron condolences to all your family and friends at home and in the Defence Forces limerick,” wrote another.
Clara native and charity worker Ronan Scully composed “a perm of remembrance” to Mr Buckley and his family including his parents “Edel and Alvin” as well as his colleagues and friends in the defence forces and at his GAA club.
“You brought Joy, Energy, Competitiveness, Brilliance, Team Play, Individual Play, Friendship, Success, Passion, Compassion, Service to your nation and whispered Hope,” Mr Scully wrote.
Gardaí are treating Mr Buckley’s death as a tragic accident.
Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.