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Tuesday 25 June 2019

'John was only out for some chips when he was killed' - grieving family

John Byrne: Was on way home with once-weekly chipper. Photo: Steve Humphreys
John Byrne: Was on way home with once-weekly chipper. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A family whose son was killed crossing the road at the weekend have said a decision to donate his organs to help others is helping them deal with their grief.

John Byrne (39) had Down syndrome and attended the Prosper Fingal centre for people with intellectual disabilities in Rush on a daily basis. The health-conscious man from Oldtown, on the Dublin border with Co Meath, enjoyed one treat of a bag of chips every Friday, and it was when he was on his way back from the local chip shop he was knocked down at a pedestrian crossing.

He was taken to Beaumont Hospital but his head injuries were to prove fatal.

"John was very independent, and got two buses each day to get to Rush," his father Tom told from their family home.

"This incident has been really traumatic. It is the most difficult thing to happen in our lives.

"He was on life support in Beaumont and we initially had hope for him, but that hope faded. But when one of the staff suggested organ donation, we knew it would be what John would have wanted.

"As my wife Barbara said to me, if John is alive in other people he is not dead at all.

"John was very healthy. I grow organic vegetables and we eat healthy food, which meant he could have his chips as a treat on a Friday. He didn't smoke or drink, so he ticked all the boxes when it came to organ donation."

Speaking about John's independence, Tom said his son loved getting out and meeting people.

"Although he was 39 he was only 5ft tall and weighed less than eight stone. To us he was our boy, he was our pal.

"He was a very sociable lad, and loved the discos and meeting people.

"If ever we were out he'd be bringing girls over to us and introducing us, and then asking for their phone numbers. He had a great way with the ladies," Tom added with a smile.

Gardaí are reviewing CCTV which captured images of the incident. They have appealed for witnesses to contact Balbriggan garda station on 01 6664500.

Irish Independent

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