The mother of a Longford man who died in a one-punch attack in New York has said she appreciates the remorse expressed by the man that assaulted him.
21-year-old Danny McGee from Drumlish in County Longford was found unresponsive outside a pub in Queens on November 22nd last year.
He was taken to hospital but later pronounced dead.
At Queens County Criminal Court yesterday, Dubliner Steven O’Brien pleaded guilty to the assault.
Prosecutors told the court he punched Mr. McGee once to the side of the head during an argument.
The 26-year-old, with an address at 42nd Street in Queens, will serve six months in prison after agreeing to a plea deal.
He apologised to Mr. McGee’s family and his lawyer told the court that he is remorseful and sad over the tragedy.
Mr.McGee's mother, Colleen McGee, said she appreciates the sentiment.
“I don’t know Steven O’Brien; I never heard his name before,” she said.
“I hope it was sincere and heartfelt and if it was, I appreciate that he did it.”
She said her family remains “heartbroken” as the anniversary of the attack passes.
“He has a younger brother and younger sister and they both looked up to him. We all missed him so much while he was away.
“He had decided he was going to return home in February of this past year. While he did love New York, he had a very tight circle of friends and he missed that. He missed home.
“Naturally we were looking forward to him coming home in a few months and unfortunately that wasn’t to be.”
She said a little bit of justice was served for her son.
“He pleaded guilty and will serve a little bit of time and after a few months, he will go and – I assume – put it behind him and get on with his life.”
“That is not an option for us but a little bit of justice was served for Danny yesterday.”
She said the incident should act as a warning to anyone about the dangers of violence.
“I never knew Danny to have a physical fight with anybody,” she said.
“I always taught himself and his brother from when they were young boys to keep your hands to yourself. If you ever become involved in a situation please just walk away.
“And in the heat of the moment, as I said I don’t know really what happened, but one punch, it ended his young life. He had so much to look forward to.”
The Longford Association of New York is holding a special mass for Danny this afternoon.
A further mass will be held in Drumlish, County Longford on December 14th