When Kenneth O'Brien was leaving Dublin Airport last July to fly back to Australia his little four-year-old son cried after him.
"Don't go daddy," he said, bringing many of the rest of his family to tears.
Mr O'Brien had flown home to celebrate his little lad's birthday, but it was time to go back to work.
Mr O'Brien was home again for Christmas, and according to sources close to the family, he decided this time that his son would not cry after him any more. He was going to stay in Ireland and be with him as he grew up.
Ballyfermot was in shock yesterday as the news spread from home to home on Blackditch Road where Ken had grown up.
"Ken was a quiet lad who kept himself to himself. He was a very pleasant individual and we were totally shocked to hear it was him who was found in the canal," said neighbour Peter Lynch.
"Our kids grew up with the O'Brien kids, and there was never a moment of trouble from any of them," he added.
Other neighbours said Mr O'Brien was the last person they expected to be identified from the canal.
"He's gone out of here a good while now, and his parents moved away but recently we heard they were trying to move back to Ballyfermot," said one woman.
"I am disgusted at what was done to him after he was killed. Why in the name of God did they have to do that to him?"
Peggy Birch remembers Mr O'Brien when he was growing up.
"They are a lovely family. I don't know what to think," she said.
Mr O'Brien's mother Sue works in the local Shoe Zone store.
"We're in complete shock. Sue knows everyone in the area and they know her," said manager Stephen Mason.
"There were people asking me about how she is as I opened the shutters this morning, and they have been in all morning expressing their support," he said.