Sligo man shot dead in Australia had a big heart for everybody, funeral mass hears

Luke Simon (57) – the father of Damien’s devoted partner Linda – was arrested at the scene and has been charged with murder.

The late Mr Damien Conlon from Sligo.

The late Mr Damien Conlon from Sligo.

Alan SherrySunday World

A Sligo man who was allegedly shot dead by his fiancée’s father in Australia was described as someone who had a big heart for everybody at his funeral mass today.

Damien Conlon (38), who grew up in the Fort Hill area of Sligo but lived in Australia since 2011 was shot dead in New South Wales in February.

Luke Simon (57) – the father of Damien’s devoted partner Linda – was arrested at the scene and has been charged with murder.

Damien and Linda were engaged and had been planning to marry later this year.

The couple shared two children together, Mason (two) and 11-month-old Elias, and Damien had also taken on stepfather role to Linda's sons from her previous relationship, Brodie and Joseph.

Damien had emigrated to Australia 12 years ago and received his Australian citizenship in 2021.

His funeral mass took place at St Anne’s Church in Cranmore, Co Sligo, today.

Local parish priest Fr Pat Lombard told how Damien loved to have a laugh and was blissfully happy in Australia with his family.

“Damien was a joker, everyone knew that,” Fr Lombard said. “He loved to laugh. We had a few laughs last night.

"He loved a bit of fun but as [his parents] Dermot and Ethel and [fiancée] Linda shared their stories you could see the big heart that Damien had for everyone.”

He met Linda on a dating website in 2019 and they hit it off instantly.

“When he met you Linda, it was love at first sight. You were the one. Together with your two little boys Mason and Eli, what delight this brought Damien, a proud and happy father, he was so committed to his little family.”

Damien who was a carpenter by trade initially went to Australia on a one-year working holiday visa before deciding to stay. He subsequently set up a large excavation business in Kelso in New South Wales.

Fr Lombard added: “Damien had gone to Australia in the wake of the recession here in Ireland. A carpenter and a very hard worker, he was doing so well in business. Australia was home because of you Linda and the boys.

“Two years ago he gained his Australian citizenship and that smiling face in front of the Australian flag which we’ve seen in recent days show how blissfully happy and contented Damien was with you in his new home.”

Linda previously described Damien’s death as “senseless and violent” and told of her devastation that they wouldn’t get to marry and live a long happy life together.

“We had deposits paid on the venue, the church and everything, but unfortunately that will never be,” she told the Irish Sunday Mirror.

“That is the hardest part, all the plans we had for the future and watching our children growing up without him. We just take it day by day now, that is all we can do.”

She said he was a devoted dad and stepfather who doted on the four children.

She also told how no one ever had a bad word to say about Damien.

“He was the sort of fella you’d ring at midnight and say, ‘My shower is broken’ and he’d jump out of bed, put his boots on and come over to help.

“That’s the kind of man he was. One example is an architect he spoke to, they never met but they spoke on the phone. He’s flying 20 hours to be at his funeral, that’s how much people loved him.”

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