The loss of popular Johnny will be huge in Killarney

The late Johnny Hickey

KILLARNEY was devastated on Saturday to learn of the sudden and premature passing of Johnny Hickey, a hugely popular local man who was very well known and greatly liked in the town.

The young father of three passed away, suddenly, on Saturday morning and news of his death caused real shock and disbelief.

From Riverside Drive and formerly of Pinewood Estate, Johnny (37) will be remembered by many for his passion for motor sport which was a hobby very close to his heart.

He and his mechanic dad, Charlie, competed in numerous rally events, very often with great success, and they were a very formidable force to be reckoned with on the circuit with Johnny earning a deserved reputation as an ace navigator.

Johnny and his dad Charlie celebrate a rally success.
Picture: Eamonn Keogh

Johnny was a very active member of the Killarney and District Motor Club and he was a very dynamic, progressive and articulate public relations officer for the organisation for many years.

He was personally responsible for the glossy official programme published to the Rally of the Lakes and the Historic Rally in Killarney every year and he was a great liaison officer with the media.

Johnny worked for Killarney businessman Con Duggan which brought him into contact with so many people every day and Johnny always had a friendly word and a cheerful greeting for everyone he encountered.

Charlie and Johnny in their trademark Ford Escort

In a statement, Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce said it was “deeply saddened” to learn of Johnny’s passing.

For many years, Johnny volunteered to drive floats for the town parades, especially giving up his Saturday evenings for the Christmas parades.

Expressing condolences to Johnny’s family and his friends in rallying circles, the chamber said: “His loss will be huge and, in time, may the happy memories you all share bring some comfort”.

Sympathies were also extended by Killarney Legion GAA Club with whom Johnny’s daughters, Alison and Laura, are juvenile members

“Johnny would have been a great supporter up at Direen. We are deeply shocked at this news,” the club said.

Good humoured, good natured and always with a smile, Johnny was the beloved husband of Jennifer and the loving dad of Alyson, Laura, Conor and the late baby Jenelle. He is the son of Charlie and Joan and the adored brother of Charlene, Cathal and Stephen. He is further survived by his father-in-law Dermot O’Connor, mother-in-law Marie, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and huge circle of friends.

The funeral arrangements for Johnny Hickey will be announced later.