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Medical student severely injured as 'sheep' costume goes up in flames

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Matthew Sheridan is in St James's Hospital, Dublin

Matthew Sheridan is in St James's Hospital, Dublin

Matthew Sheridan is in St James's Hospital, Dublin

GARDAI have spoken to several students who attended a nightclub where a young man was left fighting for his life after his Halloween costume caught fire.

A number of third-level students in Galway have come forward to officers in the city after Matthew Sheridan (21) received critical burns at Halo nightclub during a fancy-dress party.

Mr Sheridan, a medical student from Cabinteely, Dublin, was last night in a critical condition at St James's Hospital in Dublin.

Investigating gardai are satisfied that the fire in the popular nightclub was not set maliciously and it is understood that the incident is being treated as accidental.

The Irish Independent has learned that the injured man was wearing a home-made 'sheep' costume, most of which was made from cotton wool.

Halo nightclub, on Abbeygate Street in Galway city, was the scene for a Halloween fancy-dress party and entry was via ticket only. It is understood that the event was sold out and was attended mainly by NUI Galway students.

Fancy dress

Shortly after midnight, Mr Sheridan's costume caught fire inside the nightclub and he received severe burns.

Students who were at the scene said that some people tried to put out the flames with clothes, including jumpers, as the victim fell to the ground.

Emergency services were alerted and Mr Sheridan was rushed by ambulance to University Hospital Galway.

Gardai have spoken to a number of students who presented themselves to officers. No arrests have been made.

Mr Sheridan's injuries which are said to be severe.

He is in the second year of his studies at NUI Galway's medical school. He is a former secondary school student of St Michael's in Dublin and previously worked as a sailing instructor with the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

In July 2008, he was selected to represent Ireland at the 58th international session of the European Youth Parliament.

Yesterday, his friends on the NUI Galway campus were left reeling at what had occurred.

The university issued a statement which said that Mr Sheridan's classmates, the medical school faculty and the wider university community were shocked to learn of the tragic circumstances in which he was seriously injured.

"Matthew is a highly motivated, respected student who shows evidence of real leadership potential and commitment to his community," the statement said.

"He is a very popular student who is well-loved by his classmates and peers. A university staff member was contacted by the emergency services in the immediate aftermath of the incident and was able to provide assistance in quickly contacting Matthew's family in Dublin."

"Our thoughts are with Matthew and his family in this very difficult situation."

Last year, Mr Sheridan took part in an NUI Galway organised sky dive to raise funds for Galway Rape crisis centre and SpunOut.ie -- a charity working with young people.

Irish Independent