Local charged following death of John Lowe (53) in Portlaw
The Portlaw community is attempting to come to terms with the death on Thursday last of John ‘Cha Cha’ Lowe (53), whose Requiem Mass was celebrated at Saint Patrick’s Church on Sunday last.
On Friday evening last at a special sitting of Waterford District Court, Stephen Keane (28) from Coolfin Meadows, Portlaw (the same estate in which Mr Lowe lived) was charged with assault causing harm in relation to Mr Lowe’s death.
“This is and will remain for a long time to come, an extremely sad and tragic episode for the Lowe family and the wider community,” said local curate Father Richard O’Halloran. “No-one would want what visited the Lowes last Thursday to visit any household and all that we now do as a community is to offer our continued support to John’s family and to think of everyone impacted by this awful situation.”
The shocking news emerged as Waterford’s City and County Councillors were sitting down for the local authority’s monthly meeting with Portlaw-based Declan Clune (SF) leaving soon after it began to return to the Tannery Town. Speaking to this newspaper in City Hall before he left, Cllr Clune said he knew one of the families affected by the incident and described a sense of deep shock for all involved: “It’s a really terrible tragedy for Portlaw.”
The youngest of five children and the only son of his mother May, John was a native of Coolfin and had returned to Waterford several years ago having worked as a pipe layer in Wales. Addressing mourners on Sunday last, Fr O’Halloran stated: “Many of us here today thankfully, have not been to where John’s family have cause to be right now. We do not know what they are going through. However, they have our thoughts, our sympathy and our admiration in their coping with such a difficult loss.”
As a younger man, John Lowe worked in both building sites and farm yards, and, as Fr O’Halloran put it “crossed the water to Wales and spent many years there, working hard in Cardiff with Ground Works, laying pipes while also doing other, similar work. John returned to his native Portlaw a few years ago and found odd jobs to support himself, especially with gardening.”
A familiar figure to many in the village, Fr O’Halloran said many locals would regularly meet John “out walking in the company of his pet dog, ‘Spike’. Spike was very special to him. John enjoyed playing pool and over the years would often attend bingo with his sisters in Piltown. John was blessed with his sisters. He loved them and they loved him, though at times he may not have made it easy for them. But in his heart, he was there for them and especially for his sister Georgina. You will have many good memories as a family of better times with John – you always will.”
Father Richard O’Halloran added: “The path of life for John was not always an easy one. John had his struggles, he had his difficulties. He dealt with them as best he could but in everything he remained part of his family and as a family you were always there and did as much as you possibly could and in that you should have no regrets.”
Addressing John Lowe’s family, Fr O’Halloran said: “In the days and months ahead, may you not have any more dark days like today but rather hopeful ones – where the remembrance of good times will testify to all that is precious and sacred about the gift of life. Let none of us forget how fragile life is and may we commit ourselves to caring and looking out for one another. We owe that much to John and each other.”
John Lowe is survived by his sisters Olive, Georgina, Margaret and Violet and his extended family.