Wednesday 28 September 2016

'One punch can kill' - Family of man (23) left with jaw broken after unprovoked punch says more is needed to discourage such attacks

David Kearns

Published 26/11/2015 | 16:59

The family of a young man left with a broken jaw after an unprovoked punch says that such crimes are being “swept under the rug” because the resources are not there to tackle them.

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Ronan Greaney (23) was on his way to the shop across from his house in County Galway when he was approached by a group of teens.

Following a short conversion, the young man was punched in the side of the head by one of the group in an unprovoked assault which “shattered his jaw in three places”.

“It’s very distressing as a parent to see your child lying there,” said Ronan’s father Eugene Greaney (snr).

Ronan in his hospital bed after the attack
Ronan in his hospital bed after the attack

“To have this inflicted on him for absolutely no reason just makes you feel so helpless.”

Speaking to RTÉ’s Liveline, he said in the wake of his son’s attack, he had been contacted by dozens of other people who had suffered or knew of someone who had suffered a similar unprovoked attack in Galway.

“One of the things that has come out of this that has shocked me, is the amount of these kinds of crimes happening in Galway.

“I’m talking people of all ages having the same thing happen to them.

“There’s a bigger issue here that has to be dealt with and I’m thankful that Ronan’s situation has brought it to light.”

Eugene Greaney (jnr), the victim's brother, told host Joe Duffy that these kinds of unprovoked assaults were “not being taken seriously enough”.

“That one punch broke Ronan’s jaw and knocked out his teeth… a few inches and he might not have been as lucky.

“It only takes one blow to the head to kill someone and that’s not dramatizing it.

“These are serious crimes that are not being dealt with. They’re being swept under the rug because Gardaí don’t have the resources to deal with them.”

Mr Greaney (jnr) said that he did not feel safe in Galway because there was little to no Gardaí patrolling during the night.

“Go to any of the big cities in England and you can feel the police presence on the streets.

“Here, it is just a response unit,” he added.

Speaking to Independent.ie yesterday, Mr Greaney (jnr) said his brother had been at the beer tent at the Galway Christmas market with his father after working six days that week.

He had returned around quarter past one in the morning before heading to the shop, where he met two men and two women between “17 and 21-years-old”.

They spoke for a matter of minutes and he said that Ronan "did not sense any danger" and does not remember what the conversation was about.

“He can’t remember too much. The gang came over and started talking to him.

“One of the girls asked for a cigarette and he turned around and all he remembers is he got a whack from the side of the head,” said Mr Greaney (jnr).

“He just ran and hid behind a car. He was so shook he could not remember the number for 999, but he remembered my dad’s number and called him.”

He continued: “When he came back into the house, he collapsed on his hands and knees and blood was coming out his mouth.

“I brought him to hospital straight away and luckily he was dealt with right away.

“These guys need to be caught.”

On Tuesday, Ronan underwent surgery for over three and a half hours to have two plates permanently inserted into his jaw.

 “They had to cut under his chin to insert one of the plates so he'll have a scar and they are four bolts in his cheeks holding the wires in place,” said his brother.

"His jaw will be wired up for four to six weeks, but we’re hoping it will be off by Christmas.”

Gardaí are now reviewing CCTV footage from the area.

They have urged anyone with information on the incident to come forward and contact Millstreet Garda station on 091- 538000.

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