herald

Friday 24 May 2019

Guido is Aras guest of honour 20 years after city park bottle attack

Guido Nasi will meet President Michael D Higgins at the Aras
Guido Nasi will meet President Michael D Higgins at the Aras

Guido Nasi, the Italian man left paralysed after an unprovoked attack in Dublin 20 years ago, will be given a hero's welcome on his return to Ireland next week when he visits Aras an Uachtarain.

He will be received by President Michael D Higgins at a special reception during his long-awaited return visit to the capital.

Excitement

Guido (36), who will be accompanied by his mother Simonetta and his full-time carer, has also been lined up to appear on The Late Late Show.

Bernadette Kelly, a former victim support worker and long-time friend of the Nasi family, said Guido was "full of excitement" ahead of his return.

"We're trying to pull out all the stops for him while he's over because he's been looking forward to it for so long," she said.

"He loves being in the spotlight and enjoys people making a fuss over him, so it will mean a lot to him to be on The Late Late Show and then to be meeting the President a few days later.

"I'm also organising a special party for him at my house while he's over.

"I've invited former Lord Mayor Mary Freehill, as she was in office at the time he was attacked. I've also invited the current Lord Mayor, Nial Ring."

Turin native Guido had been a fun-loving and able-bodied teenager when he suffered irreversible injuries in 1999 after being hit over the head with a bottle in Fairview Park.

Despite the life-changing incident, Guido - who had been on his first-ever trip abroad when he was attacked - has never lost any of his affection for Ireland, and even longed to move here permanently.

Ms Kelly, who is a fluent Italian speaker, said: "Moving over here permanently is just not a realistic option for Guido because he needs specialist care, but this is the next best thing for him.

"He's coming over with his carer for a week in total, while Simonetta will be over for two days.

"It's a big deal for her because she's been very ill and has been having chemotherapy.

"She's desperate to get back to thank the Irish public for all the support they continue to give her since Guido was attacked."

Despite his extensive injuries, Guido has managed to write a memoir, which is expected to be released in October.

The book - entitled Una Vita Spezzata, which translates as A Shattered Life - is expected to revisit in detail the horrific day when Guido was left paralysed.

In 2001, James Osbourne, then aged 31, from East Wall, was jailed for eight-and-a-half years for the attack. He was released in May 2008.

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