Thursday 19 September 2019

'He doesn't recognise people' - brother of Paddy Hansard attacked on his way home appeal for 'justice'

'Beloved': People 'gravitate' towards Paddy. Photo: MAXPIX
'Beloved': People 'gravitate' towards Paddy. Photo: MAXPIX
Paddy Hansard
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

The brother of a great-granddad attacked on his way home after a night out, has appealed for “justice” for the pensioner, who still can’t recognise any of his family 12 days after the assault.

Paddy Hansard (73) has suffered three bleeds to the brain and broken bones in his neck, after he was set upon as he walked home with his partner, June, on Saturday, 17 August.

Doctors have just managed to remove Mr Hansard from a ventilator to another machine which allows him to breathe without as much aid. But medics are still unable to tell just what the future will hold for the great-granddad.

Mr Hansard’s brother Paul told Today with Miriam O’Callaghan on RTE Radio One, he couldn’t spend anymore than minutes at a time in the hospital as he felt “drained” and he appealed for the community to contact gardai with any information to bring the attacker to justice.

Paddy Hansard
Paddy Hansard

“It’s heartbreaking looking at him in the bed,” Paul said.  “There’s no real prognosis yet. They’re (doctors) just saying it’s a day-to-day thing.

“They took him off an induced coma and sedation and they are trying him on a smaller machine and he’s doing most of the breathing but we are concerned about the damage to his brain.

“His eyes are slightly open but there’s no focus, he doesn’t recognise people in the room.

“I can only stay in the room for about five minutes, as it’s too much. If you spend ten minutes, you’re wrecked...

“The gardai have been absolutely fantastic, there's a guard in the hospital, you can see the feeling of pain (he has for Paddy) they are so courteous and respectful.

“I can see they are as concerned for Paddy as we are. I think the only people who can sort this is the guards.

“We have full faith in the guards, we are sending a message out that if you want to help Paddy and the Hansard family and you have any information, you need to get it to the guards…

“A lot has happened to him. Initially I was very angry and full of emotion, going from one emotion to another.

“Now we have settled down a bit but we don’t know what to think. The anger has dissipated but I just want to get justice for Paddy.”

Paul thanked the community of Ballybough in Dublin for holding a vigil and for people collecting donations for his brother. People as far afield as Cork and Manchester had offered support.

“The people of Ballybough have been amazing.  They had a vigil, people took it upon themselves - it’s a beautiful, great working class community with people who support each other,” Paul said.

“People are as devastated as we are, they couldn’t believe it happened to Paddy. If it can happen to Paddy, it can happen to anyone.

“Are people safe on the streets?”

“There hasn’t been any real change,” Paul said regarding his brother’s health.

“The situation hasn’t gotten any better or worse, there’s been no real improvement.  He still has the three bleeds on the brain, one is quite large.

“The hospital said it will clear up eventually but it hasn’t yet and it’s difficult to assess his injuries…

“We are devastated.  The whole family, his children and partner. Personally I don’t know if I’m coming or going. On Sunday I slept all day - I'm exhausted. It’s frustrating - it’s going on and no change.

“Every time you go up to the hospital, you’re looking at Paddy in the bed and there’s no movement and it's very hard. The family are defeated. I’ve never seen my brother in a row in my life and I’m 61.

“And I never saw him in a fight. Families disagree sometimes. And he’d say to my 11 sisters ‘I don’t want to know, I love you all - I’m not taking sides.’”

The assault took place at the Courtney Place flat complex in Ballybough, Dublin around 2.30am.

The father-of-five was treated at the Mater Hospital in Dublin and he remains in a critical but stable condition.

A man in his 50s was arrested and questioned by gardaí but was released without charge and a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Hansard, who had worked with three of his brothers in construction as a scaffolder, is surrounded by family at the hospital.

Doctors were concerned Mr Hansard was starting to develop infections. This led to a tracheostomy procedure and medics have successfully removed the great-grandad from a respirator, to encourage him to breathe with less aid.

Mr Hansard’s family has described him as a gentleman who was the last person who deserved to be attacked.

Mr Hansard had been socialising in his local pub, the Clonliffe House in Ballybough and he was attacked on the way home on Sunday, August 17.

His family said  Thursday and Friday nights are Mr Hansard’s nights for socialising and he even has his own seat in the pub, where he was often seen dancing.

“Paddy loves  being out relaxing listening to a bit of music…they had a good night, he enjoyed himself,” Paul said.

“He doesn’t bother anyone, he was on his way home, him and his partner, June. They got the flat complex 100 yards away, a 10 minute walk. He walked a little ahead of June and he was attacked on his stairwell.

“June came across him, lying in a pool of blood and he was beaten badly across the head. The guards reckon he was beaten with a shovel but it hasn’t been fully confirmed.

“If you tried to have a row with Paddy, you couldn’t. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of English soccer, he loves music, he goes out and sits in the pub, has a few pints - he’s well earned it.

“He’s been working since 14.  For this to happen at this time, at this age - it’s terrible. I’d say nothing could ever happen to Paddy, people gravitated to Paddy in the pub…

“Paddy is an ordinary man, a pensioner, who worked hard all his life, he deserved to have a good life, to have a few pints, go home and be safe in his own home.

“If that can happen to Paddy, it can happen to any of us.  We need to look at ourselves, as a society.”

The family appealed for privacy and Paul said the RTE Radio interview would be his last.

If you have any information contact Mountjoy Garda Station on:  01 666 8601 or the Garda Confidential Line on: 1800 0666111.

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