Dad clings to life after brutal attack on day of twin girls' christening
A man was fighting for his life in hospital last night, after being attacked in the street while celebrating his twin daughters' christenings with family members.
Seamus Bell (35) suffered critical head injuries in the one-punch attack on the Main Street at Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, at 11.30pm on Saturday.
His devastated family has been keeping a bedside vigil as he clings to life.
At his home in the town, the parents of his partner, Edel Tighe, are taking care of four-month-old twins Cara and Ava, while their son lies in hospital in a critical condition.
They had all been on a family day out together celebrating the christening when the attack happened - right outside Carrickmacross Garda Station.
Edel's parents, Cyril and Noella, told the Herald of the shocking sequence of events that led to Seamus lying unconscious on the ground.
"We were all out having a great day. It was just perfect," said Noella.
"We were in one pub in the town and Seamus was playing pool when this man came in and started creating a bit of trouble.
Cyril said: "He wanted the pool table and we didn't want any hassle so we left.
"Then, later, we were walking along the Main Street and we saw him coming towards us, and he seemed to recognise Seamus.
"He put out his arms as if to hug Seamus, it was as if he was kind of apologising for what happened in the pub earlier.
"Seamus must have thought that if he went with the hug it would just calm the situation, but as he stretched out his arms, the other man just threw a punch at him."
Noella said: "Seamus fell backwards and his head hit the footpath, and he was knocked out cold.
"I couldn't believe the sound of it. It was like a crack," she added through tears, as she cradled one of the twins.
A man was arrested in relation to the attack on Sunday and detained at Carrickmacross Garda Station.
The Herald has learned that the attack was captured on CCTV cameras at the garda station and the footage will be central to the investigation.
"Seamus is strong, but we don't know what will happen. He had surgery on Sunday but his pupils aren't responding to light," said Noella.
Cyril said: "He is big into fitness and we hope that stands to him. He works as a fitness instructor and has worked as physio with the Monaghan Ladies GAA team."
Noelle added: "Seamus is Edel's world. I've never seen true love like it. He has another child, Raphael, who is six, from a previous relationship, and he dotes on him.
"It's just awful to think that these little babies here might never get to know their daddy," she added.
Gardai at Carrickmacross are appealing for witnesses.
"A 35-year-old man was discovered on the street with a serious head injury," said a garda spokesman.
"He was removed to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, in Drogheda, and subsequently removed to Beaumont Hospital where his condition is described as critical.
"The scene of the assault was technically examined and an incident room has been established at Carrickmacross Garda Station."
Last night, gardai in Carrickmacross investigating the serious assault charged a 34-year-old male in connection with the incident.
He will appear before Virginia District Court, County Cavan, today at 10.30am.
Investigating gardai are continuing to appeal for witnesses or any person with information to contact Carrickmacross Garda Station on 042-969 0190, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any garda station.