Aaron Buckley died after he got into difficulty while swimming on the Abbey river
TRIBUTES have been paid to the former soldier who died after he got into difficulty while swimming with friends on the Abbey river in Limerick.
The body of Aaron Buckley, 23, who was originally from Pollough near Clara in County Offaly, was recovered from the water shortly before 6pm on Monday following a major search and rescue operation.
The alarm was raised at around 2pm on Monday by a second man who had also been swimming in the river.
Rescue 115 – the Shannon-based Coast Guard helicopter – was deployed during the search operation along with volunteers from Limerick Marine Search and Rescue as well as Limerick Land Search Team.
A post mortem examination is to be carried out on the body of Mr Buckley at University Hospital Limerick and a garda investigation is being conducted on behalf of the coroner.
In a post on social media this Tuesday, Erin Rovers GAA club paid tribute to their clubman.
“Not alone was he a very talented footballer he was also a very down to earth man who was a always in good form and had a smile on his face. He will be a huge loss around the club not just for the football but for the man he was,” read the post.
Local councillor Ken Smollen also paid tribute to Mr Buckley. "He will always be remembered as a kind young man with a passion for sport and who served as a member of the Irish Defence Forces," he told the Offaly Express.
"I wish to thank Officer Buckley for his service to our country," the retired garda added.
Clara-based charity campaigner and family friend, Ronan Scully, posted a poignant poem on Facebook as he paid tribute to Aaron and sympathised with his mum and dad, Edel and Alvin.
"Somewhere in the early morning of eternity, you are running free on the Fields of Heaven with the famous battalion number shinning brightly as ever on your back," it read.
The Defence Forces has expressed its condolences to the family of Aaron Buckley who, it’s understood, left the Defence Forces in the very recent past.
Gardai at Henry Street, who are investigating the incident, are treating the death of the 23-year-old as an accident.