The Irish in Melbourne have been left reeling by the death of Louth-born Jill Meagher, the second such tragedy to strike the close-knit community this month.
Police found the missing Drogheda woman’s body in a shallow grave at the side of a road in South Gisborne, almost 50km north-west of Melbourne.
Adrian Ernest Bayley, 41, has been charged with her alleged rape and murder. He has been remanded in custody to appear before Melbourne Magistrates Court on January 18.
The death of Ms Meagher comes just three weeks after the passing of Dubliner, David Greene, on September 7.
Mr Greene, 30, died in hospital in Melbourne almost two weeks after an alleged assault.
Mr Greene and his friend David Byas, both from Cabinteely in Dublin, were injured in an alleged assault in the city on August 26.
Luke James Wentholt, from St Kilda East, was later charged with his murder.
Seamus Moloughney, President of the Celtic Club in Melbourne, was among those to pass on condolences to the Meagher and McKeon families today.
“Our deepest sympathies to Jillian Meagher’s husband Thomas, her family and friends both in Ireland and Australia,” he said, in a statement.
“The emotion that Melbourne is feeling today is one of sorrow and disbelief. We are a city and community that is strong and in our own small ways we can show support and love for those who are grieving the loss of a beautiful young Irishwoman.
“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. May she rest in peace,” the statement ended.
Trevor Hines, the manager of PJ O’Brien’s in the city’s Southbank area, was a schoolmate of Ms Meagher at St Oliver Plunkett in Drogheda.
Mr Hines said he had been to the popular Irish pub on occasion.
He recently reconnected with Ms Meagher and Facebook and was due to attend her 30th birthday party on October 27.
“It’s devastating news for the family and the Irish community here,” he told the Irish Echo.
“Obviously they are never going to get over it but hopefully she will be well looked after now.”
Barry Corr, CEO of the Melbourne-based Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce (IACC), said the business network sends its condolences to the family.
“We’ve got members in the chamber who have close connection to the family in Drogheda and obviously, it’s a tragedy.”
The ABC, where Ms Meagher worked, is also in mourning.
“On behalf of Local Radio Victoria, we are deeply saddened and pained by the tragic news of the death of our friend and colleague Jill Meagher,” the broadcaster said in a statement today
“Our thoughts go out to Jill’s family and friends, so devastated by the passing of this wonderful young woman.”
Ms Meagher worked on the Jon Faine show as a unit co-ordinator. The broadcaster paid tribute to his colleague this morning.
“Its randomness is what is so incomprehensible about it,” he told listeners.
“There’s a very empty space in our office this morning.”