A young Galway barman has died in Australia, a fortnight after he was hit with ‘one punch’ outside a kebab shop in Perth.
Thomas Keaney, a 23-year-old from Ballyconneely, passed away with his parents at his side after his life support machine was switched off.
The young emigrant had been receiving treatment at Royal Perth Hospital after the attack in which he was viciously assaulted as he waited for a taxi.
The Galwegian was hit by just one punch which caused him to fall and hit his head on the pavement.
A 22-year-old man local man Abbas Al Jarood has already appeared in Perth Magistrates Court where he was charged with causing grievous bodily harm.
This charge may now be upgraded after Keaney’s tragic death.
His parents had flown to Australia on Dec 26 after a call from doctors on Christmas Eve to say their son’s condition had deteriorated dramatically.
His uncle Bernard told the Irish Sun of the family’s anguish.
He said: “We are devastated and brokenhearted, especially this being around Christmas time. He was just trying to get by, make a living in Australia.
“By all accounts, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was very much loved. Thomas decided to travel to Australia, to see a bit of the world. He was a very loveable kind of a guy, always upbeat.
“He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, he took a blow to the head - I guess the rest is history.”
After a year in Australia, Keaney had canceled plans to travel home for Christmas when he was offered more work at an Irish bar in Perth.
Family friend and Ballyconnelly publican Brendan Keogh told the Irish Sun: “He was planning to come home before Christmas but he got more work.
“His family had been talking to him after the attack and he told them not to travel to Australia, that he was going to be okay. That reassured them.
“His mum had been expecting a Christmas call from her son.
“Instead she got news on Christmas Eve that his condition had deteriorated. They couldn’t get a flight on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day but traveled out on Stephen’s Day.
“We are all devastated, shocked and numb. It is a huge blow, especially this time of year.”
Keaney’s sister Lauren had posted on Facebook: “I would like to thank everyone for all the love, support and prayers ye have sent to Thomas. He is a legend and we are so touched by all the kind words!!”