Tuesday 24 April 2018

Ex-Tanaiste Mary Coughlan to the rescue after man has seizure in cafe

Former Tánaiste Mary Coughlan. Photo: Damien Eagers
Former Tánaiste Mary Coughlan. Photo: Damien Eagers

Darragh McDonagh

A man who suffered a seizure in a cafe received assistance from an unexpected source when former Tanaiste Mary Coughlan came to his aid.

The former Fianna Fail TD, who served as deputy leader between 2008 and 2011, was enjoying a coffee in Castlebar, Co Mayo, when the medical emergency arose.

Mary Coughlan took control
Mary Coughlan took control

A man in his 40s began having a seizure, but Ms Coughlan was quick to react and took charge of the situation as another customer administered first aid.


A member of staff had called the emergency services but was growing frustrated with the operator's questions.

Ms Coughlan, who was Minister for Health in 2011, asked for the phone and took over.

An ambulance arrived at the cafe shortly afterwards.

It is understood Ms Coughlan was in the area to support a team from her native Donegal in the Comortas Peile na Gaeltachta tournament, a Gaelic football competition taking place in Tourmakeady at the weekend.

A witness who was in the coffee shop at the time of the incident said Ms Coughlan had won the admiration of customers for keeping cool.

"It was very scary when the poor man fell to the ground and started shaking. Tables and chairs went flying, and I think he bit his tongue because there was blood on the floor," the witness said.

"Mary Coughlan was very calm. Somebody else went to the man and held him in the recovery position, but she took charge of the situation and was very commanding.

"The waiter was struggling on the phone to the emergency services. They just kept asking him questions that he couldn't answer and he was getting frustrated. He just wanted them to send an ambulance.


"It got really frightening when the man started having trouble breathing, and Mary Coughlan just took the phone from the waiter and spoke with the operator.

"There was an ambulance outside the cafe within a few minutes of her intervention.

"I had no idea who she was until I heard her give her name over the phone.

"I'd say that man thought he was hallucinating when he regained consciousness to see a former Tanaiste over him."

The man was taken to Mayo University Hospital.


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