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Shock as 'kind, gentle' mature student is stabbed to death in front of partner and her kids

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Gardai investigating after the stabbing in Ennis of Eoin Boylan. Photo: Press 22

Gardai investigating after the stabbing in Ennis of Eoin Boylan. Photo: Press 22

Gardai investigating after the stabbing in Ennis of Eoin Boylan. Photo: Press 22

A man was stabbed to death in front of his partner and her three children after he was attacked in the home they shared.

Eoin Boylan, of Gordon Drive, Cloughleigh Estate, Ennis, Co Clare, was rushed to hospital but died en route.

The 32-year-old was a mature student in LIT and yesterday neighbours and friends recalled him as kind, gentle and unassuming.

It is understood the fitness enthusiast was at home with his partner when the suspect gained access to the property shortly before 3pm on Tuesday.

A source said one theory is a struggle ensued as Mr Boylan attempted to protect his partner from the suspect, who is known to her.

A short time after the incident, a man in his late 30s was arrested by gardai.

Struggle

A neighbour provided medical assistance to Mr Boylan at the scene before paramedics arrived.

Mr Boylan is understood to have moved to the area within the last two months.

Neighbours yesterday recalled him as "pleasant and friendly".

One woman, who witnessed the aftermath of the horrific incident, said the community was stunned by the tragedy.

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Gardai searching for a weapon. Photo: Press 22

Gardai searching for a weapon. Photo: Press 22

Gardai searching for a weapon. Photo: Press 22

"I saw the ambulance arriving, and I immediately thought it must be someone sick with the coronavirus. I didn't hear any commotion before that," she said.

"They brought him out a couple of minutes later in what looked like a wheelchair.

"His poor girlfriend and the kids were all outside looking in to the ambulance, and then all the guards started arriving.

"I didn't realise what happened until another neighbour said it.

"The ambulance was parked outside for a good while, and I just kept praying for him.

"I saw one of the children standing on the footpath, and I was about to bring him inside here when a guard came and brought him into another house.

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Eoin Boylan

Eoin Boylan

Eoin Boylan

"I can't believe what's happened. I only knew him to see, but he had a nice way about him. He was friendly and pleasant."

Eoin Boylan's sister paid tribute to gardai and the paramedics who battled to save her brother.

In a Facebook post, Aoife Boylan said: "I want to say a huge thank you to the gardai of Ennis and the paramedics who assisted my brother and helped my family in our time of distress and need."

Mr Boylan was a fitness enthusiast and was skilled in martial arts, in particular taekwondo.

He was a member of Banner Martial Arts and Fitness club and a spokesman paid a moving tribute.

"We have lost one of our own. We have received word that our friend and student, Eoin Boylan, was killed today," they wrote.

"It is too soon to use many words."

A suspect in the killing was arrested a short time after the attack and was last night being detained at Ennis Garda Station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

Throughout Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, garda search teams combed the area close to the attack.

Gardai believe the suspect may have disposed of a weapon prior to his arrest.