Wednesday 21 March 2018

'Niall saved five lives with his donor card – but he never thought that he'd use it'

Niall Dorr
Niall Dorr
Niall Dorr
Talented kickboxer Niall Dorr’s trophy collection at his home in Dundalk
A family photo of Niall Dorr
Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

GENEROUS Niall Dorr saved the lives of five people – among them another teenager – simply by carrying an organ donor card.

And the people he saved wrote to Niall's family to thank them and tell them how the 18-year-old transformed their lives.

Niall was walking home with friends in Dundalk, Co Louth, on the night of October 14, 2010, when he was viciously assaulted by Douglas Ward (36).

Ward, a father-of-three from Knockbridge, Co Louth, was on bail at the time of the attack.

He will be sentenced at the Central Criminal Court later today after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Niall's devastated mother Veronica told how she took some comfort from the fact that her son helped others after his senseless death.

Niall had signed a donor card just three months before the attack and his selfless action has inspired others to do the same.

"He told us he had signed up. He left it on the counter and said: 'Here Mam, you look after that'," said Mrs Dorr.

"He knew what he was doing, but he never thought he was going to use it," she added.

In their victim impact statements to the court, Niall's family told how reading the letters from the donor recipients was "heart-wrenching", but also "consoling."

Niall's father, David, said: "We are grateful for the letters which we received from each recipient just to let us know that they are all doing fine and that their lives have been changed for the better because of Niall."

One of those who Niall helped was another teenager whose family wrote to the Dorr family to say how their life had been transformed since the transplant.

Another recipient described Niall as an angel and said he would now live life to the full.


"This is what Niall would have been doing if only he had been given the chance," said Mr Dorr.

"As Niall was so young and healthy we pray that his organs will last for years."

Niall was a champion kickboxer and had represented his country numerous times, winning a bronze medal in 2004 and a silver in 2009.

On the morning of his killing, the teenager had attended an interview to join the Defence Forces after passing the fitness test.

Niall and two friends were walking home at around 9pm on Castle Street in Dundalk when they were approached by a group, including Ward, and a row broke out.

Niall was trying to act as a peacemaker when he was repeatedly punched and kicked in the head by Ward.

The teenager suffered devastating brain damage and later died in hospital.

Ward had attended a bail hearing in Dundalk earlier that day and had been drinking since the pubs opened that morning.

After the attack the accused went to an off-licence and bought more drink.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News