A south Armagh has died in a tragic boating accident in Australia.
Twenty-five-year-old Niall Quinn fell from a houseboat on the Murray River, which is near the border between Victoria and New South Wales.
The young man – who had been a past pupil of St Joseph’s High School in Crossmaglen – had been enjoying a weekend celebration for Australia Day.
Friends said Niall had slipped from the top deck and fallen into the river.
It is being reported that he may have struck his head when he had fallen before entering the water.
Acting Police Superintenent Peter Hayes, of the New South Wales Police, said: “On the way down he’s actually collided with the bottom deck of the houseboat and fallen into the water and gone under.”
Niall – who had close links with Silverbridge GAA Club – fell at about 1.45am (2.45pm BST) on Friday.
A search operation was immediately put in place, and the young builder’s body was recovered at 3.45pm on Saturday (Australian time).
Niall had been with a party of friends, all from Ireland, when the tragic accident happened.
Sinn Féin councillor Barra O’Muiri has said the community in Silverbridge was left “numb with shock” after learning of Niall’s death.
“The local community is devastated at the news of this tragic accident,” he said.
“Niall was highly thought of in the area and I think I can speak on behalf of the entire community when I say our hearts go out to the Quinn and Donnelly families.
“I understand that The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust is working with the family and people in Australia to bring Niall home as soon as possible.
“There are no adequate words when a tragedy like this strikes. We can only hope that Niall is returned to his family as soon as possible and that they know the entire community is behind them.”
Slieve Gullion councillor Terry Hearty also knows the family.
“Niall, like all the Quinn and Donnelly family, was well known in the area,” he said. “He was a friendly, likeable young fellow, always smiling, a real life and soul of the party type of lad.
“He was involved with the local GAA club when he was here and he had been getting on well in Australia. People still can’t quite believe what has happened.
“As you can imagine his family are devastated so I would ask the media to respect their privacy.
“The local community here will rally round them and offer every assistance we can.
“For now our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
It is understood Niall’s parents are preparing to travel to Australia.
Devastated to hear of untimely death of Niall Quinn. Our sympathy and support to family and friends.
— Silverbridge GAA (@SilverbridgeGAA) January 23, 2016
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