Gardaí are appealing to the public not to share footage of Athlone attacks following the death of Paul ‘Babs’ Connolly, 48


Gardaí are appealing to the public not to share images or footage of an incident in Athlone that saw a man die after a street attack over the weekend.

‘Babs’ Connolly, 48, from Edenderry, Co Offaly, died at 2.35am on Saturday morning from injuries sustained in the attack in Athlone, Co Westmeath.

Mr Connolly had been drinking with friends at the Prince of Wales Hotel but sources said he left the bachelor party group and had an argument with another man – unknown to him – in town which led to an attack.

Gardaí are awaiting post-mortem results to determine if Mr Connolly died as a result of a beating or if it was from hitting his head on the ground.

A 19-year-old man and a man in his 30s were arrested last night by officers investigating the fatal attack. They were still in Garda custody today and were being interrogated.

A witness captured video of the incident which circulated on social media last night. Video shows a man protesting with Mr Connolly before another man appears and hits him before falling to the ground and hitting his head.

The man appears to be trying to kick Mr Connolly while he is on the ground.

Gardaí today appealed to people not to share the footage.

“An Garda Síochána appeals to everyone NOT to share this material, it is disrespectful and upsetting to the family and friends of the deceased and anyone involved in this incident and is not helpful to the Garda investigation,” a spokesman said.

Sources say the arrested man is from Roscommon, in his 30s, and is currently on bail. He has reportedly served multiple prison sentences and committed a series of brutal, unprovoked attacks on both men and women.

Mr Connolly worked at Ray’s Roofing and Home Renovation in Co. Meath and was popular with his colleagues.

His employer and friend Ray Kelly said he spoke to Mr Connolly just hours before he died.

“I only spoke to him last night and he was looking forward to going away for the night. He didn’t go out much anymore. I’d say it was the first time he’d been out in God knows how long.

“It was amazing waking up to the news. When we finished a job, he always stayed and did it. He always tried to help me. It’s devastating.”

“He went the extra mile all the time. Every day he made you laugh no matter how bad people were. I’ve grown very fond of him. He only worked a few days a week, but you’d be happy if he was around.

“It hasn’t really arrived yet.”

Mr Connolly, who was single, lived on Assumption Road, Edenderry. He lived with his recently deceased mother.

“He will be missed. His mother died a few months ago and his nephew died in England. They’ve had a tough time over the past few months,” added Mr Kelly.

Edenderry Councilor Robert McDermott said Mr Connolly’s death had had a devastating impact on the town. “I am extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Paul ‘Babs’ Connolly. Paul came from a very popular and respected family in Edenderry. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family today.”

An interim room was set up at Athlone Garda Station under the direction of a senior investigating officer.

Anyone who may have video footage, including cell phone footage, of this incident, or any motorists who may have camera footage, including dash cams, who were in the Church Street area between 2:00 a.m. and 2:45 a.m. are asked to do so do This footage is available to Gardaí.

Mr Connolly had previously been convicted of dangerous driving resulting in death after his car crashed into a van after a drinking session in Edenderry in May 2001.

His best friend Francis Cooley, who was a passenger in Mr Connolly’s vehicle, died in the accident, which occurred after Mr Connolly lost control on a left hand bend before crashing into the van.

He admitted to gardai that he had downed 17 or 18 pints before getting into his Mazda MX sports car to drive to Rathangan in Co Kildare.

He suffered serious injuries himself in the accident and was dismayed at the death of his friend.

He was given a two-year suspended sentence after Mr Cooley’s sister pleaded for leniency in the case. The court heard he had previous convictions for assault and public order offences. Gardaí are appealing to the public not to share footage of Athlone attacks following the death of Paul ‘Babs’ Connolly, 48

Fry Electronics Team

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