The father of assault victim David Keohane has expressed his anger after his son's attacker was cleared of attempted murder in Australia.
A Sydney jury found Thomas Isaako (21), a New Zealand national, not guilty of the attempted murder of Mr Keohane (30) in an horrific street robbery in August 2008.
Isaako had earlier pleaded guilty to both robbing the Cork-born flooring contractor and to assault causing harm.
"I just hope the judge comes down hard on this guy for the attempted robbery and the wounding -- I hope he [Isaako] rots in f***ing hell," Tom Keohane said.
"I feel that it is my son who has been given a life sentence for being a great young man," he added.
Cork-born Mr Keohane suffered such horrific head injuries that he was initially not identifiable to police after the attack.
He later spent eight months in a coma, and despite regaining consciousness on St Patrick's Day last year, will never regain his old quality of life.
The Keohane family, who travelled to Sydney for the trial, were visibly shocked by yesterday's acquittal.
Mr Keohane's sister, Carol, delivered an emotional victim impact statement to the court -- and appealed for information in tracing Kane Tupela Ui, the other individual involved in the attack who remains at large.
Meanwhile, Sydney's Irish community celebrating its 200th St Patrick's Day Parade was "sobered" by a recent series of attacks on young Irish people.
One young Irishman, Paddy Fox (29) is in hospital, fighting for his life following an assault on Sunday in Sydney. Mr Fox , who has lived in Coogee in Sydney for several years, is the third Irish man to be attacked in Sydney's eastern suburbs in less than three years.
Another young Irishman, 23- year-old Dubliner Gearoid Walsh, died last year after being punched outside a takeaway-food shop in the same suburb last year.
"We don't like to see anybody getting injured regardless of if they're Irish or any nationality," St Patrick's Day Parade and Family Day president Gerard Ryan told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.
"But it does strike home when you see this happen."
The family of Mr Fox is en route to Australia to be at his side.
A 19-year-old man will appear in Waverley Local Court on April 13 charged with recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Mr Ryan said the strength of the Sydney Irish community lay in its tremendous support network.
"We've got the Irish [Australian] Welfare Bureau who look after their families and relatives so as a community we're quite strong in that respect," he said. "In fact we raised all the funds to send David Keohane back home to Ireland to be in hospital at home.
"It is a sad occasion but as a community we... do rally together when it's required in times of celebration and in times of need."
Despite the sadness there was still much to celebrate this year, Mr Ryan said, as it was 200 years since the New South Wales state government acknowledged that the Irish expats had the right to celebrate St Patrick's Day.