Rallying round: Friends and family out in force for victim Paddy
Friends, family and neighbours of attack victim Paddy Hansard turned out last night to offer their support as he battles in hospital.
The 75-year-old great grandfather suffered serious head and spinal injuries in an attack on Saturday.
He was rushed to the Mater Hospital where he last night remained in a critical but stable condition and in a coma.
More than 200 people gathered outside the Courtney Place flats in Ballybough last night to say prayers.
Sister Nuala, from the nearby Daughters of Charity order in Fairview, led prayers, saying a decade of the Rosary for Mr Hansard, his distraught wife Rose and their son Paul who is maintaining a vigil at his bedside.
"I'm very touched by all the candles lit here tonight. They are a sign of hope and God above us," she told the crowd.
Pensioners, families with children, friends, neighbours and strangers stood outside Mr Hansard's flat where he was viciously attacked after returning home from a night out at a local pub.
Neighbour Lorraine Gavin (40), who organised the vigil, said everyone in the area was shocked by the senseless attack.
"I've known Paddy all my life. He's very friendly. We're just praying he gets a lot of strength and pulls through," she said.
Neighbour Natalie McGucken (36) and her husband Derek (35) took their children Max (4) and Kristina (10) along to pray for his recovery.
She saw Mr Hansard being taken away by ambulance and still can't believe what happened to him.
It was hard having to explain to their children what happened to him, she said.
"I was shocked. He just comes in and out and minds his own business. He's a lovely man," she said.
Local Dublin city councillors Christy Burke, Nial Ring and Joe Costello also attended and thanked everyone for the show of solidarity for Mr Hansard and the community at large.
Mr Burke said Mr Hansard's brother Paul broke down in tears and thanked the community for all the texts and emails and other expressions of support they have received.