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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Brave Abbie (18) tells driver – ‘We do not want my dad’s legacy to be your suffering’

Abbie Finn recovering at her home in Ballyfermot with a photo of her father Martin, who was knocked down and killed. Photo: Mark Condren
Abbie Finn recovering at her home in Ballyfermot with a photo of her father Martin, who was knocked down and killed. Photo: Mark Condren
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A young mother, who was left with a broken neck in a road accident that claimed the life of her father, has called for footpaths and street lighting to be fast-tracked at the tragic site to prevent further fatal accidents.

Abbie Finn (18) was walking with her dad Martin (60) on the dark Newcastle to Lucan Road in west Dublin when they were hit by an SUV on the night of January 17.

There is no footpath or street lights on that stretch of road at present.

At her father's funeral in Ballyfermot, brave Ms Finn, who now wears a heavy head brace, spoke of her love for her "hero" father.

She said his last act was to push her to one side just before they were hit, saving her life in the process.

Ms Finn, whose baby son Arthur turned three months old last week, also sent a message of comfort from the altar of St Matthew's Church to the driver of the SUV, reassuring him that what happened was a tragic accident.

"We would like you to know we are praying for you and your family. We wish we could ease your pain," she said. "We do not want my dad's legacy to be your suffering, as that is the last thing he would want."

Now, as she continues her recovery at home with her mother Carol, Ms Finn says she will have to wear her metal-framed head brace for 10 more weeks.

"It is screwed into my head in seven places. It weighs 10 pounds and it means I can hardly do anything for myself," she told the Irish Independent.

Read more: 'We want him to know that it was an accident' - Family of fatal accident dad to driver of SUV

The injury has made it difficult for her to care for her son.

"I have no power in my left arm and I can't hold Arthur up, hug him or feed him. I have to try to sleep on my back, which is very uncomfortable," she said.

"Nothing will bring dad back, but if there was a footpath and lights on that road it would mean this might not happen again.

"There needs to be a path there with lighting, and until then there should be temporary lights to make it safer," she urged.

Accident

Despite the injuries she received, Ms Finn still remembers everything about the accident.

"I remember feeling my dad's hand on my face and then flying through the air like doing a flip on a trampoline, and when I landed I thought I was beside dad because I could still feel his hand under my face.

"But he was on the other side of the road," she said. "But I could feel him touching my face. I don't know what it was."

Ms Finn asked a motorist who had stopped to get her mother Carol who was parked up the road waiting for her daughter and husband to return after feeding their horses.

Read more: 'I’m only here because of my dad, my hero' - Road victim Abbie's final message to much-loved father

Ms Finn was lying face down in the grass and wanted to be turned over onto her back, but her mother had the presence of mind to keep her still.

"I told her we couldn't move her. I did first aid training years ago and something must have clicked but I just knew we couldn't move her," her mother said.

Ms Finn said: "The doctors told us that if I had been moved my spinal cord could have been affected and I could have been paralysed or died."

Irish Independent

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