'I can never accept Sean was in wrong place when he was shot'
A mother, whose little boy was paralysed by a gunman's bullet, said her son was playing at the time where he should be - outside his home.
Gillian Scully said her seven-year-old son Sean was paralysed from the chest down and is confined to a wheelchair.
Sean was hit by a stray bullet when a gunman tried to murder another man near his home in Dublin last June.
The little boy was hit in the side of his neck and the bullet damaged his spine.
The shooting happened at Croftwood Gardens in Ballyfermot just a few metres from Sean's home.
"It's lucky he's still here but he shouldn't have to be lucky," Gillian said.
"I can never accept that Sean was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He's a child. He was outside his house playing with his friends. He was exactly where he should have been," she said.
Gillian said she heard the sound of the gunshot and then saw her son Shane (14) bent over trying to help Sean as the little boy lay on the ground.
"Sean was just lying there. He'd got his first pair of glasses a few months earlier and I had him plagued about taking care of them because they'd been expensive," she told the Irish Mail on Sunday.
"He was all worried about them and saying over and over, "Did I break my glasses?
"At this point, I noticed there was some blood on the ground, underneath the back of his head," she said.
When she was told he had been shot, she thought it was with a pellet from a pellet gun. But, after surgery was carried out, she learned it was a bullet from a handgun.
She said it was unlikely he would ever walk again.
Sean is now home from hospital full-time and is confined to a wheelchair. His family is planning to build an extra room on their house with an en-suite shower.
"I think the summer is going to be his big test. When we start getting the bright evenings and all his friends are busy doing everyday things, when he can hear them playing football on the green. He was good at football and he loved it," she said.
She said, "I think about how it was a bullet, how he could have been killed.
Both parents Gillian and Karl spend a lot of time caring for Sean. Karl spends up to an hour each evening doing stretches with Sean.
Gillian sleeps downstairs near Sean's bed and maintains his catheter every three hours by day and every six hours by night. Sean goes to primary school and pays weekly visits to the Central Remedial Clinic for therapy sessions.
"I want him to be as independent as possible," said Gillian.