'I think about Dad every day' - daughter of man killed as they walked together hails €20m spend to improve road

Abbie Hall Finn, with her son Arthur, lost her father Martin in a road accident. Photo: Tony Gavin

Conor Feehan

Brave young Dublin mother Abbie Hall Finn has welcomed news that the road where her father was killed and she suffered a broken neck in a horrific collision is now being widened, as well as having paths and lighting installed on it.

The 19-year-old 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, 2017.

Martin was killed in the impact and Abbie was flung into the air and across the road, after her dad heroically pushed her aside before he was hit.

Mother-of-one Abbie had to wear a metal halo frame around her head for months to stabilise her injury, and underwent two surgeries on her spine in an effort to give her use of her left arm.

It was a miracle she wasn’t killed or paralysed in the incident. She was brought to her dad’s funeral in a wheelchair.

Work has now begun on a major upgrade on the Newcastle Road. It will take around 15 months to complete, at a cost of around €20m.

Abbie thinks that is money well spent if it means it saves lives in the future.

“I’m happy that it is being done at last, hopefully nobody will die on that road again and

nobody will have to go through the heartache of what we have been through,” she told the Herald.

“It would have been great if it was done years ago, then my dad might still be alive and I wouldn’t be going through what I’m going through.

“I’m hoping to put a plaque to my dad at the scene of the accident when the road is finished.

“I want him to be remembered there.”

Abbie had to spend so long in her recovery and rehabilitation, while trying to look after her infant son Arthur with the help of her own mother, Carol, that she feels she is only now starting to grieve his loss, almost a year later.

“I’m going to counselling now, and I’m on anti-depressants, too. It’s very hard. Christmas was difficult because it was the first one without Dad.

“He used to put up the tree and do the lights and things. It was hard,” she added.

“I think about Dad every day, but as the anniversary approaches it really hits home. My son is nearly walking now and I think Dad would have been a great role model for him.

“Physically I’m still sore. I have pains in my neck and back, especially when the weather turned colder.

“I’m taking five tablets every morning and five every night, as well as painkillers during the day,” she added.

Apart from the grief of her father’s loss and the physical pain of her injuries, Abbie said she still suffers mentally, too.

“I get flashbacks and nightmares. I get anxious even walking on a footpath when cars drive by,” she said.

“I’m frantic sometimes when I’m in the car with Mam, even though I wasn’t in a car when the accident happened.”

When Abbie was critically injured her baby boy Arthur was just three months old, and her mother had to take care of him while Abbie recovered from surgeries and was in the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire for 14 weeks.

“I’d be lost without my mother. She has been brilliant. I couldn’t hold Arthur because I couldn’t lift my left arm, and I couldn’t hug him with the halo on my head, so it’s great to be able to be a real mother for him now,” she said.

Although the heavy metal halo is gone, Abbie’s vertebrae in her neck are reinforced with two metal plates and four screws.

She has now returned to college to complete her Leaving Certificate, and is trying to move forward with her life.