Northern Ireland

Jason McGovern who died after assault was 'caring young man'

A priest has described a teenager who died after being attacked during a night out in Omagh, County Tyrone, as a "very caring and affable young man".

Jason McGovern of Tydavnet, Monaghan, was found dead at a house in Mullan village near Emyvale.

It is believed he was punched at a pub on John Street, Omagh, at midnight on Sunday and hit again two hours later outside a nightclub at Kevlin Road.

Canon Macartan McQuaid said his family were struggling to cope with his death.

"They are covered with a dark cloud of grief and a great sense of loss," he said.

"Jason was the youngest boy in the family and he was a lovely young fellow.

"He was the sort of son any parent would love to have."

Canon McQuaid said Jason was an "exemplar of all that is good and noble in the lives of young people".

"Knowing him and talking to young people who were his friends, you would conclude that he would be the last person in the world to initiate any kind of fight," he added.


It is understood that following the second attack the teenager made his way to a friend's house where he was found dead just after midday on New Year's Eve.

The priest said the teenager had been a very thoughtful son.

"His mother is very ill with multiple sclerosis (MS), and has been for the past four or five years," he said.

"His grandmother is an elderly lady and Jason would have driven his grandmother to church every Saturday evening.

"Indeed she was telling me that if he was going for a spin somewhere he might ring her up and say 'gran would you like to come, get out of the house for a while?'

"That was his nature. He was very caring."

Canon McQuaid said Jason was one of the first people he got to know when he came to the parish three years ago.

"He was very outgoing, very pleasant and a regular church goer," he said.

"He was involved in his church as an altar server, and later on became a reader of God's word and a Minister of the Eucharist, which is very major involvement for a young person of 19.

"Jason also had a great sense of humour, would be very jovial, quick to banter and enjoyed the craic.


Image caption Jason McGovern was found dead at a house in County Monaghan

"He had a very wide circle of friends and they are very grief stricken at the moment too, and I suppose, mystified and puzzled as to why something like this should happen to a nice young fella like Jason.

"It is just a deep tragedy."

The PSNI and Gardai are investigating his death.

Members of Omagh's Policing and Community Safety Partnership are to meet later.

Chairman Alan Rainey said there had been a number of attacks in the town over the holidays.

"Obviously we haven't had the opportunity of meeting collectively just to find out what the background source of that has been or what it is about but certainly that is very high on our agenda this morning where we will examine that, together with the incident around Jason's death," he said.

Police have said they want to speak to a man of stocky build with ginger or blonde hair.

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