Mother's fears for son (13) as he recovers after school break attack by students
The mother of a 13-year-old schoolboy who was airlifted to hospital after he was viciously assaulted by two students has told of her terror at his ordeal.
Keane Gallagher-Payton, from Ennistymon, Co Clare, was attacked by two other youths aged 14, who are students at a different school in the town.
The alleged assault took place in the vicinity of Monastery Lane in the town between 1.15pm and 2pm on Wednesday.
Local sources have indicated there may have been some discussion on social media about the incident before it occurred.
Keane's mother Clare Gallagher said her son was "very lucky" his injuries weren't more serious.
"It was a very difficult thing to go through for us all but hopefully Keane will be OK," she said.
Doctors say Keane will make a full recovery but Ms Gallagher is worried about the impact it will have on him as a person.
"I'm worried he may struggle in the coming weeks and months with his confidence and that he won't feel safe," she said.
When asked about the culprits, she said: "I'm angry and upset about what they did to my son but I'm hoping it just got out of hand and they didn't actually intend on hurting him so much.
"I suppose that's what happens in a lot of these cases but young ones in particular don't seem to think about how simple it can be to cause such potential life-threatening injuries."
Her son was recently in the news for coming first in his age group at the Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge in Maynooth - an international initiative where students from all over Ireland submit projects.
"I didn't expect him to be in the news again so soon, especially in these circumstances.
"He has recovered well and has shown no other signs of seizing," said Ms Gallagher.
She said the two boys who assaulted him were known to Keane and would not be considered troublemakers, which had made it all the more shocking.
The assault took place while the teenagers were on their school break.
It is believed Keane was knocked to the ground, resulting in him suffering a head injury.
After being assessed by paramedics, the decision was made to airlift him to University Hospital Limerick for treatment.
Ms Gallagher travelled on the helicopter with him and admitted it was an awful experience, but she is thankful he is on the mend.
"It was extremely frightening, at this stage he was still in and out of consciousness and vomiting in between so I tried to concentrate on Keane and it didn't really sink in until later that we'd even been in the helicopter.
"We're lucky I suppose, it could have been much worse when a head injury and concussion was involved."
Gardaí are continuing to appeal for witnesses and have asked anyone who was in the Monastery Lane area of Ennistymon on Wednesday between 1pm and 2pm to contact them at Ennistymon garda station on 065 7072180.