'My dream is to live in Ireland for a year,' says Guido, despite 'worm' who left him paralysed
Published 29/07/2016 | 10:48
Former student Guido Nasi, left a paraplegic after being viciously attacked in Dublin, has "a dream to live in Ireland".
Italian Guido (34) is confined to a wheelchair permanently and is almost blind because of the assault in a Dublin park 17 years ago.
"Beautiful green land, full of happy and kind people," is how Guido describes Ireland despite the horrific attack in Fairview Park on July 29, 1999.
He has sent a letter from Italy to the Irish nation through Bernadette Kelly of the Irish Tourist Assistance Service, declaring his wish to come to Ireland.
He would like to spend one year living in Ireland before settling into a community for disabled people in Italy, he said.
Guido said he would "always be grateful" to the victim support organisation and to the Irish people for the goodwill and generosity shown to him and his mother after the attack.
Guido had travelled to Ireland as a 17-year-old to study English in Dublin. He was visiting Fairview Park when a Dublin man hit him on the head with a bottle.
He was left with catastrophic injuries and has been a paraplegic for the past 17 years. His eyesight was also seriously damaged.
He is the only son of his mother Simonetta, who is now in her 70s. Guido lives with her in a third-floor apartment in Turin in Italy.
Donations, cards and letters of support were sent by Irish people to Guido and his mother in the years after the attack.
The pair were received warmly by Irish people and officials on trips to Ireland in the years after the devastating attack.
Ms Kelly, who is fluent in Italian, worked with the victim support organisation in Dublin and befriended Guido and his mother and acted as a translator for Simonetta, who does not speak English.
A new letter sent by Guido to Bernadette declares his warm feelings for Ireland.
His letter opens with "Hello Ireland" and praises the country's beautiful countryside and its kind people.
He said he had received a final award from the Irish Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal.
The money, he said, "will allow me to move to an apartment within a community for disabled people and pay for therapies.
"Without that money, I wouldn't be able to afford such cost," he said.
"I do have a dream: to live in Ireland for one year."
He said he would prefer not to use the money from his compensation award for his travel and accommodation costs.
"I really need to keep those funds primarily for my therapies, for my 24-hour medical assistance and for the costs of accommodation," he said.
Guido recently needed emergency surgery for an intestinal problem.
He signed off his letter with the words "A big hug, Guido".
James Osborne, of Forth Road, East Wall, pleaded guilty at the Circuit Criminal Court in 2001 to causing serious harm.
Aged 29 with a serious alcohol problem at the time of the attack, Osborne was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison. He served his sentence.
Ms Kelly, speaking on RTE's Ray D'Arcy Show last May, described what happened to Guido in Fairview Park.
She said: "A group of young boys started to play with him [Guido] and his friends when they were in the park and one guy stole Guido's wallet.
"Guido chased him when the group ran away and he caught one but when he was holding him waiting for someone to call the police, a man came.
"He wanted to get the child away from Guido so he hit Guido in the head with a bottle and that's all it took.
"One bang with a bottle and the consequences are what they are now."
Ms Kelly said that Guido feels as though he died that day.
"On his 18th birthday I asked people through the Herald to send him birthday cards and he got thousands.
"They had to send the van a couple of times to bring all the presents and cards that people had sent him and now they still write to him," she said.