Thursday 18 July 2019

'Small in stature, big in character'

Ken Phelan

The man who was knocked down and killed in Whitestown last week has been since named as John Byrne from Oldtown.

John was 39 and had Down Syndrome. His broken-heart family says he was on hi sway back from a local chip shop when he was knocked down at a pedestrian crossing.

He was taken to Beaumont Hospital but his head injuries were to prove fatal.

His family have stepped outside their own grief to think of others and have decided to donate John's organs and say they know that is what he would have wanted.

John led an independent and sociable life and was a regular with two great local organisations for people with special needs, Prosper Fingal and Remember Us.

The tight-knit communities within both of those organisations have been devastated by the sad news of John's passing.

Noran Roban, founder of Remember Us described John as a 'lovely bright, bubbly young man, always full of fun'.

He was a long-time member of Remember Us and Nora remembered: ' He always came to the disco in his suit.

'He was a lovely kind, caring young man and always had a smile on his face, and he'll be greatly missed by everyone here in Remember Us.

'We were all shocked. He'd come in the door with a big smile on his face and we're all devastated. He'll be greatly missed, but he'll always be remembered by everybody here.'

Pat Reen from Prosper Fingal also paid tribute to John.

He said: 'It's a terrible tragedy altogether. John was small in stature but big in character, he was so full of life and loved people, and would instantly salute everybody, everybody was his friend.

'He lived for family and for friendship and he just saw the world as a good place, and treated everybody in that frame of mind, that everybody was his friend and he was everybody's friend.'

Pat said: 'He was one of the main men in the centre and he had great friends there, and there's a deep deep sadness at his loss, and there's a bit of confusion as to where's he gone, because he was somebody who was so special to them and so lively in the centre.

'There's a sadness amongst his fellow service users in the Rush centre as well.'

Pat explained: 'Also, the people of Rush knew John, and particularly St Joseph's secondary school, who did different projects with Prosper, and the young people of Rush and all the citizens of Rush made John part of their life as well.

'It's very sad that someone so full of life, that it would stop all of a sudden, it's very hard for us all to comprehend.'

Gardaí are reviewing CCTV which captured images of the incident in which John sadly lost his life.

They have appealed for witnesses to contact Balbriggan garda station on 01 6664500.

Fingal Independent