herald

Sunday 20 October 2019

It's Christmas come early at hospital and airport

Brendan O’Carroll leads the singing at Crumlin Children’s Hospital with Faith Fay (6) and Zoe Longergan (7)
Brendan O’Carroll leads the singing at Crumlin Children’s Hospital with Faith Fay (6) and Zoe Longergan (7)

Christmas came early to Crumlin Children's Hospital as Mrs Brown's Boys star Brendan O'Carroll took time out from his busy schedule to help spread some festive cheer.

The comedian has been a dedicated supporter of the annual Christmas Celebrity Ward Walk through the hospital, which is now in its 14th year.

Brendan was joined by several other celebrities, including some of his co-stars, to sing carols, pose for pictures and put smiles on sick children's faces.

It was all laughs for 15-year-old Cara Stokes from Cherry Orchard, who got the surprise of her life when Brendan and his wife Jennifer paid her a visit at her bedside.

Nothing could stop Limerick girl Elanor Mahon (4) and Zoe Lonergan (7) from dancing as the famous faces belted out some festive tunes for their young fans.

Meanwhile, it was an emotional morning for families at Dublin Airport yesterday as thousands arrived home for Christmas.

Nearly 94,000 passengers were expected to arrive at the airport, making it the busiest Christmas to date.

Ecstatic

Brendan and Jennifer O’Carroll with Cara Stokes (15) from Cherry Orchard
Brendan and Jennifer O’Carroll with Cara Stokes (15) from Cherry Orchard

Cathal Daynes from Bray was ecstatic to see his fiancee India arrive from Australia, after going months without seeing her.

"My family haven't seen her since we got engaged last year, so we're really excited," Cathal told the Herald.

Fionnuala O'Sullivan was delighted to see her only daughter Niamh return home from Brussels.

"It's been so long. She's the only daughter I have - I've got three boys - so it's great to have your daughter home for Christmas. They're all dying to see her," she said.

Niamh said: "I'm most looking forward to getting some of my mother's good cooking."

Meanwhile, Ian Dube was eagerly anticipating the arrival of his two daughters, Raquel and Rochelle, who flew in from Edinburgh with their mum.

"They've been in Scotland for almost a year, it's a dream come true to see them back," he said. "They're home!"

The two terminals at Dublin Airport were decked out with more than 300,000 LED lights, 60 Christmas trees, 500 metres of garlands, 30 Christmas wreaths and 30 festive displays this year.

A total of 1.1 million passengers will pass through the airport this Christmas, an increase of 8pc over last year.

Michelle and Xander Hand from Donnycarney greet Nicole and Calvin Massey from San Francisco
Michelle and Xander Hand from Donnycarney greet Nicole and Calvin Massey from San Francisco

Flight operations will end on Christmas Eve after the last flight leaves for Moscow at 10pm and they will resume on St Stephen's Day when Aer Lingus' EI 104 from New York lands at 5am.

Friday is expected to be the next busiest day for airport staff, with an increase in pass-engers heading to winter sun and skiing destinations.

There was more airport drama in London last night as Gatwick continued to be besieged by drones.

The runway re-opened for the second time after a mystery saboteur wrought 36 hours of travel chaos for more than 100,000 travellers by using drones to play cat-and-mouse with police snipers and the army.

The airport briefly closed again yesterday to investigate a new drone sighting, but was soon operating as normal.

"Flights have resumed," a spokeswoman said.

"The military measures we have in place at the airport have provided us with reassurance necessary to re-open our airfield."

Motivation

Britain deployed unidentified military technology to guard the airport against what transport minister Chris Grayling said were thought to be several drones.

"This kind of incident is unprecedented anywhere in the world," he said.

The motivation of the drone operator, or operators, was unclear.

Police said there was nothing to suggest the crippling of one of Europe's busiest airports was a terrorist attack or sponsored by another state.

Gatwick's drone nightmare is thought to be the most disruptive yet at a major airport and indicates a new vulnerability that will be scrutinised by security forces and airport operators worldwide.

The army and police snipers were called in to hunt down the drones, thought to be industrial-style craft which flew near the airport every time authorities tried to re-open it on Thursday.

The perpetrator has not yet been detained, but the police said they had some possible suspects.

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