Mullingar attack: Student gives life to five by organ donation
AT LEAST five people have been given the gift of life by a biomedical science student who died after a horrific assault on a festive night out.
In an act of "profound generosity", Andrew Dolan (20) from Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, had signed up as an organ donor some time ago.
And on Sunday, when he passed away, his organs were used to save the lives of others.
Mr Dolan was assaulted in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, on December 23 and had been kept alive by a life-support machine in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.
Over the weekend, his devastated family consented to switch off the machine. Speaking to the Irish Independent yesterday, his uncle David confirmed that his lungs, kidneys, liver and heart were donated.
The organs are vital to those awaiting life-saving surgery and Andrew has been hailed as a hero for having decided to become a donor.
In a statement released yesterday on behalf of his family, Andrew's father Joe Dolan paid tribute to his son as a "much loved, popular young man with a bright future.
"My wife Rosie and our sons Gavin and Jack are devastated at the death of our son and our brother," he said.
"We thank the many people, friends and Andrew's fellow students in Carrick-on-Shannon and Mullingar who have been a great support to us during this devastating ordeal."
Andrew studied at NUI Galway. His father said Andrew had been looking forward to a fulfilling career in medical science and asked people to remember him in their prayers.
Enda Stenson, a family friend and local councillor, said: "Isn't it a mark of the man that he signed up to be an organ donor at that young age and give the gift of life to another?
"It isn't a shock. This is exactly what you'd expect from someone from the family."
Mr Stenson said the whole town was grieving for Andrew's family, who he said were pillars of the community.
"Somebody else will get a new life. Hopefully, in time, that will bring a certain amount of comfort to Joe and (his mother) Rosie," he added.
Meanwhile, friends have flooded a Facebook tribute page with messages. Ann Rogers wrote: "RIP Andrew. Condolences to the Dolan family. No words could express how people feel at this time. May he rest in peace."
The young man had been rushed to hospital after an altercation broke out outside Abrakebabra on Pearse Street, in Mullingar, on Friday, December 23, at 2.40am. He had been visiting friends in the area.
Andrew was originally taken to Mullingar's Midlands Regional Hospital but was later transferred to Beaumont, which specialises in head injuries.
Two men, aged 21 and 20, and a 19-year-old woman were arrested and taken to Mullingar garda station following the incident.
All three were released without charge and a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The results of a post-mortem examination are due today.
Gardai are continuing to appeal for witnesses who may have been in the vicinity of Pearse Street on December 23 between 2am and 3am to come forward.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Mullingar station on 044 938 4000, the confidential line 1800 666 111 or any garda station.
Pending the release of his body, Andrew's funeral will be held tomorrow at midday in St Mary's Church in Carrick-on-Shannon.
He will be buried in Ardcarne cemetery in Co Roscommon.