A GARDA who was hailed a hero for saving a toddler's life has been reunited with the little girl.
Gda Joe Quinn was one of the first people on the scene when Analise McDonagh was critically injured by her uncle's vehicle as the family were enjoying last Easter's holiday at their grandfather's house in Kilbannon, Galway.
The toddler's life was saved by the quick actions of Gda Quinn and his colleague Gda Edel Durkin.
Yesterday Gda Quinn was reunited with Analise, now 19 months, who sustained a number of severe head injuries.
Her grandfather Michael McDonagh said that they feared the worst when the horrific accident happened.
"At the time we though she was dead, we weren't getting a lot of hope from the hospital for the first few days," Michael told the Herald.
"She vomited on the way to the hospital - and that was the first indication that she was still alive. But I found out later that that was actually a sign of her organs shutting down."
The toddler was rushed by helicopter to University Hospital Galway but was later transferred to Dublin as the extent of her injuries became clear.
Analise's parents Edward and Bernadette kept a vigil by their baby's bedside as she remained on life support for two weeks - and was only released from intensive care after three weeks.
Michael has said that the entire family are "eternally grateful" to Garda Quinn who recommended that the helicopter be called.
"The first few minutes after an accident like that are critical," he said.
"Because of the request from that garda, we got to the hospital in Galway in eight minutes and they had a life support team waiting for us when we got there.
"It would have taken us at least 25 minutes to drive to the hospital. So that call was the difference between life and death for Analise."
Gda Quinn said that he was taken aback to see Analise running around and smiling at her home near Tuam in Galway, as she was in a bad way the last time he saw her.
However, the toddler's grandfather said that Analise's recovery is "a slow process".
"We are waiting for her to get into the rehab centre in Dun Laoghaire and she has regular appointments in Temple Street Hospital," Michael said.
"The professionalism of the gardai, the ambulance crew and the helicopter crew were all exceptional at the time - we just can't thank them enough."
Analise is now just getting to know her baby brother Michael, who was born six weeks after the devastating accident.