Family and friends of the late Michaela McAreavey, who was tragically murdered on her honeymoon three years ago, have given her widower John the seal of approval for the new woman in his life.
The tragic widower found happiness again after meeting Kildare woman Tara Brennan a year ago. McAreavey was initially reluctant to start dating Brennan. At the time three years had elapsed since his wife was murdered in Mauritius.
A spokesman for McAreavey described the pair's relationship as an "embryonic friendship that has grown." He went to see Michaela’s parents, Marian and Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte, “out of respect” to tell them he had met someone – and they happily gave him their blessing.
Independent.ie reports close friends of the accountant: "He's a young man and he should be allowed to move ahead with his life."
"Friends and family are happy for him," the spokesman said. The talented GAA star’s world fell apart just days after his wedding when Michaela was murdered in their honeymoon suite in the Legends Hotel in Mauritius.
Michaela McAreavey was the daughter of Tyrone GAA boss Mickey Harte.
Sources close to McAreavey said over the weekend, “They haven’t been keeping their relationship a secret, but John is a private person and he has just been enjoying getting to know Tara and having fun.
“They enjoyed a break in New York in August and they’ve met each other’s families and friends now say it’s going well for them and everyone is delighted.
“John told Michaela’s family about Tara from the beginning since they’re so close but they always wanted him to meet someone else eventually so they were delighted for him.
“He’s been through so much between the murder and then the trial and he still has to wake up every day knowing no one has been brought to justice, but he is such a strong lad and he’s just trying to look to the future and be happy.
“The boys are always slagging him that they never see him anymore because he’s always with Tara, but she’s a lovely girl and very easy to get on with so she’s just fitted into the group.”
News of their relationship emerged when McAreavey began proudly sharing pictures of the two of them together on Twitter and Facebook. He tweeted a picture of them at a charity 3K fun run in Maynooth on Stephen's Day (Dec 26).
McAreavey's friends say they are delighted for him and they say his fight for justice for Michaela is not over.
This month marks the painful reminder of the tragic teacher’s killing as it is the third anniversary of her death.
The horrific murder sent shockwaves around the world and has left the Harte and McAreavey families searching for justice.
No one has ever been convicted of the killing, despite a high-profile murder trial which saw two Legend’s Hotel workers acquitted.
The Michaela Foundation was established in honor of the tragic bride. McAreavey, his family and the Hartes have dedicated themselves to making something positive come from their anguish.
One friend described McAreavey as a "major driving force" behind the Michaela Foundation, and, though he'll never forget Michaela, "it's good to see him take this step."
"They have so much in common and Tara also helps out now with the Michaela Fund so they have a very close bond."
“After Michaela’s death people thought he’d never find happiness again, so are thrilled he’s been able to move on in this way.
“For a young man he’s had a hard cross to bear and it’s taken place in the spotlight which has been difficult to cope with at times.”