Thursday 18 October 2018

'Gentle giant' Luke saved five other lives after tragic death - says heartbroken mum

'We decided to donate Luke's organs. He was 6ft 3in tall and he was very fit and healthy. The hope that five other families got a good news phone call does help ease the pain'

Luke O'Reilly (20) who died after an assault
Luke O'Reilly (20) who died after an assault
Luke O'Reilly
Tragic Luke O'Reilly died on Monday after being attacked in the early hours of November 1
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

The heartbroken mother of a young man killed after a Halloween night attack revealed his organs have been donated to give five people a new lease of life.

Luke O'Brien O'Reilly (20), from the Kiltipper estate in west Dublin, was attacked after socialising with friends on October 31.

In the early hours of November 1 he and a friend were on the Old Blessington Road in Tallaght village when it is believed Mr O'Reilly was assaulted by a third person.

Mr O'Reilly, who was studying at Crumlin College, fell to the ground unconscious.

Luke O'Reilly
Luke O'Reilly

Speaking from her home, his mother Janet O'Brien told of the sequence of events that followed, and how for two weeks she held out hope that her son would survive.

"They told me Luke was gravely ill. I could see he had a black eye and a cut on his face, but I was still hopeful he would pull through.

Tragic Luke O'Reilly died on Monday after being attacked in the early hours of November 1
Tragic Luke O'Reilly died on Monday after being attacked in the early hours of November 1

"Luke did stabilise after surgery and he was under sedation. And then on Wednesday last they said they would try to bring him out of it, and he actually started to respond, he would squeeze a doctor's hand when they asked him to.

"But then his blood pressure and heart rate went up, so they sedated him again. I rang first thing every morning to see how he was, but when I rang on Sunday they said his pupils weren't responding.

"We went in to the hospital but they said there was nothing that could be done for Luke," she said. "We decided to donate Luke's organs. He was 6ft 3in tall and he was very fit and healthy. The hope that five other families got a good news phone call does help ease the pain."

Speaking about her son, Janet said:

"He was very affectionate, and being six foot three tall he would nearly smother you when he gave you a hug," she said.

"Luke had his own problems with depression and he had his ups and downs as a result, but he worked hard to fight it.

"He had a core group of great friends, and he was a great friend to them too.

"He had a great love of boxing, and was a member of the Crumlin Boxing Club where one of the trainers, Philip Sutcliffe, coached him.

"He wanted to be the next Conor McGregor," Janet said with a smile.

Luke studied for his Leaving Cert at Tallaght Community School and was studying accounting and business at Crumlin College.

"He was the eldest of three and was a like a bodyguard to his two younger sisters. He was a real father figure to them," said Luke's stepfather, Gary Higgins.

A 20-year-old man who was arrested on Monday afternoon in relation to the incident is due in court this morning.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News