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Funeral details for alleged assault victim Paul ‘Babs’ Connolly announced

48-year-old Paul “Babs” Connolly, from Edenderry, Co. Offaly, died from injuries he sustained in the attack in the Westmeath town at 2.35am on Saturday morning.

Paul 'Babs' Connolly© Family handout

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

A man who died following an alleged “unprovoked assault” in Athlone will be laid to rest this week.

Paul “Babs” Connolly (48), from Edenderry, Co. Offaly, died from injuries he sustained in the attack in the Westmeath town at 2.35am on Saturday morning.

He had been on a stag night out and is understood to have broken away from the group before he was assaulted on Chruch Street.

Mr Connolly will repose at Larkin's Funeral Home in Edenderry this evening from 6pm to 8pm with a rosary service at 8pm.

His funeral mass, which will be streamed online, will take place on Tuesday at 3pm in St Mary’s Church, Edenderry, followed by a burial in St Mary’s Cemetery.

It comes after two men were charged with violent disorder and assault following his death over the weekend.

Gardaí arrested and charged two local men with assault causing harm to Mr Connolly and violent disorder on August 13.

Unemployed Sean Munnelly (35), of Irishtown, Athlone, and hardware store employee David Higgins (18), of St Paul’s Terrace, Athlone, appeared before Judge Alan Mitchell at a special sitting of Mullingar District Court last night.

Mr Munnelly did not apply for bail while his co-defendant had bail set at €5,000, but which he had yet to take up by last night. The pair were remanded in custody to appear via video link at the same court on Thursday.

Detective Sergeant Kevin Craig told Judge Mitchell they made no reply to the charges and it was alleged the deceased was injured during an “unprovoked assault”.

The court was told Mr Connolly was knocked unconscious and later died.

Det-Sgt Craig objected to a bail application made by Mr Higgins due to the seriousness of the incident. He told Judge Mitchell that Mr Connolly suffered “punches and kicks” during the alleged attack, which was captured on CCTV.

He agreed with defence solicitor Michael Cooney, however, that Mr Higgins was not considered a flight risk and that he lived with his grandfather in Athlone and had no prior convictions.

Following further questioning, the detective sergeant agreed it was alleged the incident had two sections, “minutes apart” and it was during the second phase that Mr Connolly was knocked unconscious.

He accepted that it was alleged that Mr Higgins was involved in the earlier part of the incident and he was not known to the co-accused.

Judge Mitchell held the threshold had not been reached to deny the 18-year-old bail, but he had to note the seriousness of the incident.

He set bail in Mr Higgins’s bond of €2,500 which must be fully lodged and he approved his grandfather to act as an independent surety. He must lodge a further €2,500.

Judge Mitchell warned the young man to obey “stringent” conditions: sign on daily at his local garda station, obey a 10pm-6am curfew, have no contact with witnesses, surrender his passport and travel documents and not apply for new ones, reside at his current address and remain contactable by mobile phone.

Legal aid was granted to the pair, who did not address the court.


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