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Tourist blinded in one eye 'won't rule out return'

THE woman who was blinded in one eye after she returned to Ireland for a holiday said she will not rule out a visit here this year.

Marie Gauvin (58) was an innocent bystander to a fight in Birr, Co Offaly, in July, when she was struck by a glass bottle.

She returned to her home in Canada two weeks after she underwent medical treatment and an operation in Dublin.

PILGRIMAGE

Now, just five months after the incident that changed her whole life, the mother-of-one said that she may make her annual pilgrimage to her native home in 2014.

"I won't say never, but I don't know at this point. But, I can't rule it out – my family is there," Mrs Gauvin told the Herald from her Ontaria home.

Since her return to Canada in August, Marie has undergone constant medical treatment and still experiences bouts of pain and discomfort.

"Physically, I am doing as well. About seven weeks ago, the doctor removed half the stitches that were inside, on the eye.

"A week ago I was to have the balance taken out, but he wouldn't take them out because the first half didn't heal as expected," she said.

"My eye is also shrinking because of the inactivity. The doctor said I have a long road ahead after the removal of the stitches, if they can be removed.

"The eye will have to be built up and then they would make a shield to match the other eye, but he said I still have a long way ahead," the Birr native added.

Marie revealed that she has recently moved into her dream home that she built with her husband Al.

"Before this happened we had just started to build a new house. We have just moved into that a few weeks ago. I am slowly but surely settling in. Even though I am really not supposed to be doing a lot of heavy lifting, it has kept me occupied."

Once a keen golfer, Mrs Gauvin has not returned to the course since she was injured.

Marie Gauvin (nee Wrafter) was born in Birr, but moved with her three siblings and parents, Frank and Phylis, to Windsor, Ontario.

CITIZENSHIP

Mrs Gauvin was seriously injured following a 'Gathering' event in Birr, Co Offaly, at which her elderly father – a gifted basket weaver – was being honoured.

Her brother Michael revealed that their sister Irene had retained her Irish citizenship after emigration, but now plans to give it up after the incident.

Gary Ward (19) from Birr, has since been charged with assault for his alleged involvement in the incident.

hnews@herald.ie


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