herald

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Family raising funds to fly injured grandad home from Portugal

Paul was 48 hours into his trip when he was hit by a taxi
Paul was 48 hours into his trip when he was hit by a taxi

The family of a grandfather who suffered a serious head injury in an accident in Portugal are raising funds to get him home in an air ambulance.

Paul Byrne (66), originally from Blanchardstown, was less than 48 hours into his break with friends when he fell and hit his head on the ground after he was knocked over by a taxi.

"He has a massive fracture on the back of his skull and then he got bleeds on his brain," said his son Ciaran, who flew to Portugal with his sister Roisin and mum Elizabeth to be with Paul.

Confused

Ciaran said his dad had gone to Portugal with friends, and was on his way back to his hotel when disaster struck. That was four weeks ago.

"He was in intensive care for eight, nine days," said Ciaran.

"He still has bleeds on his brain. They are going down slowly and they (doctors) reckon they will heal themselves."

Ciaran said his family are concerned about the long-term impact of the head injury and say Paul is confused and does not recognise them.

"They don't think he will be the same man again or will ever get his memory back," he said.

"We are anxious to get him home to Ireland and to get him rehabilitated. He does not know where he is or who we are."

Paul had his European Health Insurance Card with him but was not covered by travel insurance.

The family moved from Blanchardstown in Dublin to Mullagh, Co Cavan, 18 years ago

Friends in Mullagh have begun fundraising to cover the estimated €20,000 cost of bringing Paul home by air ambulance.

The family have been told that he can leave the hospital next week, and Ciaran says they want to get him home "and he needs rehabilitation".

"This is an absolute nightmare, it is like waking up in an absolute nightmare," Ciaran said.

"The support from the people in Mullagh, the support from everyone at home has been absolutely moving.

"Everybody is rallying around at home."

Generosity

Last night the amount raised on the GoFundMe page passed the €20,000 mark.

"Me and my family are just blown away by the support we have had since we started it and just can't even put into words how grateful we will forever be for all of your generosity," said Ciaran.

Anyone wanting to contribute to Paul's fund should go to

www.gofundme.com/f/paul-byrne.

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