October 5, 2022

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Around 100 members of the Irish community in London attended a vigil for 87-year-old Thomas O’Halloran in Ealing on Sunday morning.

Mr O’Halloran, originally from Ennistymon in Co Clare, was fatally stabbed on Western Avenue in Greenford at around 4pm on Tuesday.

The vigil for Mr O’Halloran took place at 10am on Sunday morning on Cayton Road near to where the fatal attack occurred. Men and women dressed in county colours gathered for prayers and laid flowers.

The “well liked” pensioner was known locally for busking outside Greenford Station and was also said to be raising money for war-torn Ukraine.

At the vigil, Terrence O’Flaherty, a second cousin of Mr O’Halloran, led a group of traditional musicians and performed a version of Boolavogue.

“Tommy’s family lived next door to us growing up,” said Mr O’Flaherty. “He was the eldest of 14 children and left for the UK around 70 years ago. It’s a terrible tragedy, it’s just sad to get to 87 and to have your life ended like that.”

A number of members of the Irish community in London who, like Mr O’Halloran, were originally from Ennistymon attended the vigil.

Pat Davis, who now lives in Neasden, Brent, says he remembers Mr O’Halloran coming home to Ennistymon from London in a little three-wheel bubble car.

“He reminded me of Del Boy,” recalled Mr Davis. “It was one of the first cars I ever saw like that in Ennistymon, people would be looking under it to see if there was a fourth wheel.

“I went to school with some of his brothers and they would be in and out of our house. It’s an awful shame, it’s hard for somebody to reach that stage in life and then be taken like that.”

Another Ennistymon local, Stephen Considine, travelled from Hertfordshire to attend the vigil. “We would know his family at home, George and Dickie,” he said.

“We would see him when he was back from England on his holidays.

“It’s tragic what happened, all he was doing was playing music and minding his own business.

“It’s a sad occurrence for an old man to live so long and end up in such a tragedy.

“As you can see from today, he’s very well liked.”

Lee Byer appeared at Willesden Magistrates’ Court today on Friday charged with murdering Mr O’Halloran. The 44-year-old was arrested at an address is Southall, two miles from the crime scene, in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Detectives from the London Met’s Specialist Crime Command lead said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the investigation.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for Mr O’Halloran’s funeral.

Skye Dunnage, a neighbour and family friend of Mr O’Halloran, who organised the fundraiser wrote: “Tom was a lovely man and well known in the Greenford area as he has lived here for many years.

“He was always polite, kind and funny and still had plenty of life left in him. Tom was a caretaker of a rubbish dump for many years until he retired.

“Tom was a grandad and a dad and very much a family man hence the reason why he was out busking for his family in hard times.

“Tom did not deserve this tragic end to his life and as you can imagine have left his family devastated beyond belief.”

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