Sunday 15 September 2019

Innocent elderly man in critical condition after being attacked by neighbour 'in a dispute over noise'

Paddy Hansard suffered serious head and spinal injuries
Paddy Hansard suffered serious head and spinal injuries
Gardai at the scene at Courtney Place in Ballybough Photo: Owen Breslin
A man was seriously injured in an incident overnight Photo: Owen Breslin

Alan Sherry

An innocent pensioner fighting for life after he was brutally attacked by a neighbour in a dispute over noise in Dublin’s north inner city in the early hours of yesterday.

Paddy Hansard, who is aged in his 70s, suffered serious head and spinal injuries when he was attacked at the Courtney Place flat complex where he lives in Ballybough around 2.30am yesterday.

He was rushed to the Mater Hospital, where he is understood to be in a coma.

His condition is described as critical.

Gardai at the scene at Courtney Place in Ballybough Photo: Owen Breslin
Gardai at the scene at Courtney Place in Ballybough Photo: Owen Breslin

Gardai have arrested a man in his 50s in relation to the incident, which has shocked the local community.

The suspect, who lives in the local area, is known to regularly have parties and play loud music, to the annoyance of other residents.

“He’d always be bringing people back having parties and disturbing the other neighbours,” said a source.

It is understood Mr Hansard had been drinking in the nearby Clonliffe House pub earlier in the night and came across his neighbour as he was heading back towards his flat.

Sources said Paddy had asked the man not to keep the noise down. “He said to him ‘I hope you’re not having a party tonight. I need a good night’s sleep’.”

It was this simple request that allegedly led to the man launching a vicious attack on Paddy. Such was the serious nature of the injuries that gardai are investigating whether a shovel type weapon was used by the attacker.

The scene of the attack was sealed off yesterday as gardai carried out technical examinations and spoke to residents.

Local councillor Nial Ring, who knows Paddy, said the attack has caused shock in the local community.

“It’s horrendous. My mother still lives around there. All the older people around there can’t believe it and are in shock. They’re not afraid to go out but they’re very apprehensive after something like that has happened to someone, particularly an older person.”

He said Paddy is a quiet person who never caused anyone any trouble.

“Paddy is just a guy who goes about his business and loves his family. He very much kept himself to himself.

“The Hansards would be a very well respected family in Ballybough. They would be one of the older families in Ballybough. Everyone in the area is thinking of Paddy and he will be mentioned in the church.”

Cllr Ring said he hopes the culprit is brought to justice.

Members of Paddy’s family maintained a vigil at his bedside yesterday.

One of his brother’s Paul is a well known SIPTU organiser and previously stood as a local election candidate.

The man arrested in relation to the attack was being questioned at Mountjoy Garda Station last night.

Gardai have appealed for anyone who may have witnessed the assault or who can assist them in the investigation to contact Mountjoy Garda Station on 01 - 6668601, The Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.

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