'Everyone helped, that brings me some comfort' - widow of grandfather who died while walking in the snow
The family of a Dublin grandfather who died after having a heart attack while walking home in the snow has thanked the community of Killinarden in Tallaght, for doing everything it could to help him.
Tony Nolan (61) was making his way from the shops across Killinarden Park toward his home on Donomore Avenue at lunchtime on Sunday when he collapsed.
Tony’s family says that Tallaght suffered incredible negative attention after a Lidl shop in the area was robbed then demolished with a digger on Friday night.
However, they want to stress that they received nothing but kindness, concern and help when he collapsed.
“Tallaght got a bad name on Friday night, but we only saw good when we needed it most,” said Tony’s grieving wife Ann.
Tony’s stepdaughter Emma added the response from locals was so different to that portrayed in the aftermath of the Lidl demolition.
“The Tallaght community was blasted on social media, and what happened at Lidl was unreal. I couldn’t believe it. It was like something from a war zone but that does not represent Tallaght,” she said.
Ann also wanted to correct information the family had seen which suggested that the reason an ambulance couldn’t get close to Tony, a father-of-seven with grandchildren, was because it was being pelted with stones and snowballs by local youths.
“That is simply not the case,” she said.
Going back to Sunday morning, Ann said they had been coping with the snow like any other family.
“Tony was a walker. He would walk his dog Coco three or four times a day, and he went to the shops to get some things,” she told Independent.ie.
“He went to Dunnes in The Square, and when he was walking home through the park he just collapsed. There was a local man walking behind him, and a couple nearby taking photographs, and they rushed to him.
“The man immediately started CPR on Tony and he was there for around 45 minutes before the ambulance crew got to him.
“Other people came out and brought blankets.
“Everyone helped as best they could, and I will always remember that. It brings me comfort.
“Two ambulances arrived, but they could only get as far as the shops, and then some of the locals helped them carry their equipment up to Tony, and helped bring Tony and the equipment back to the ambulance.
“The roads were shocking. I really think more should have been done to clear them.”
Tony’s stepdaughter Ruby said that even if an ambulance could have got straight to him, he probably would not have survived anyway.
Speaking to Independent.ie last night, Sean Cullen, who performed CPR on Tony, said he saw him fall, about 20ft in front of him, and that he was unconscious from the outset.
“I started CPR and then two more people helped me and we alternated with breaths and compressions,” Sean said.
“There seemed to be some confusion about getting the ambulance to our location.
“We were nearly in the middle of the park, and one ambulance got stuck in the snow, I think, and we directed the second one to come in from another direction.
“I was giving CPR from 12.45pm until 1.30pm, but I don’t think there was anything that could be done for Tony – but you don’t stop trying.”
A spokesperson for South Dublin County Council said there were no access problems for emergency services on Sunday and they were able to attend the incident within 10 minutes of call out.
“The council was able to plough the ring road around Killinarden Heights on both Saturday and Sunday,” the spokesperson said.
Ann told how she was at home when she got a call to say Tony had collapsed.
“A neighbour helped me down to the park, and I could see a crowd gathered around Tony and the ambulance guys working on him,” she said.
“One of the ambulance men kind of ushered me away and then they got him to the ambulance. They were brilliant, just like all the staff in Tallaght Hospital. People were just brilliant.”
Tony had worked for 23 years at the Obair agency in Brookfield Enterprise Centre, helping local people get skills and jobs.
“Everyone knew him. He was very involved with the community,” said Ann, adding that he was a man who could not sit still.