A SICK toddler who has spent his entire life in hospital has gone home for the first time.
Liam Mac an tSaoi (3) made his first trip home to Clonberne, Co Galway, where his delighted parents, Louise and Sean, and older brothers, Fiachna and Cormac, were waiting.
"We've spent the last few days preparing, getting the bed and oxygen delivered. This is why he survived, to come home to us," said mum Louise.
"Today is really about seeing how he copes at home. It will be a strange place for him, but I know he will do great," she added.
Now the family are looking forward to the day when they will finally get Liam back home for good.
"He's never been outside the hospital. We want to resort to a normal family life with Liam. I want him to see us all eating around the table, show him the trees and the animals, all things that are alien to him," added Louise.
The family had hoped that Liam would be coming home permanently this month, but those plans hit a setback after a delay in securing nurses for his care.
"There is a problem getting enough nurses. The hospital don't know what the delay is but we have only five nurses in place and we need five more. The agency says it doesn't have enough nursing cover at the moment.
"The money is in place and the hospital is ready to go, but we need the full nursing cover to move on," she added.
Little Liam, who needs 24-hour care, has lived most of his short life in Crumlin hospital.
He suffers from a chronic lung disease and the very rare condition phenylketonuria (PKU). He was transferred to Galway hospital in early January, allowing him to be closer to the family home in Clonberne.