Murder probe as student loses fight for life
A MURDER investigation is set to be launched after the death of a student who was savagely assaulted days before Christmas.
Andrew Dolan (20) had been kept alive on a life support machine following the attack in Mullingar in the early hours of December 23 but died on New Year’s Day.
Popular student Andrew was assaulted outside the Abrakebabra on Pearse Street in Mullingar at 2.40am while he was visiting the town.
Gardai today described the mindless assualt as “completely random” and confirmed that they had arrested and questioned the chief suspect in the case.
His family, from Carrick-on-Shannon owns The Bush Hotel in Leitrim where a staff member told the Herald today: “It’s a very difficult time for the family. They need time and privacy to grieve this terrible tragedy.”
Andrew’s heartbroken uncle David said the family was finding the tragedy “extremely difficult” to deal with. “We are all devastated,” he said.
It is understood an altercation took place in the fast food restaurant before it spilled out onto the street. The 20-year-old fell on his head during the attack. Two men aged 21 and 20 and a 19-year-old woman were arrested by gardai after the assault and later released.
A source explained: “This was a completely random attack which stemmed from words being exchanged in a chip shop.
“The victim suffered a couple of punches to the head and then sustained severe injuries when he hit his head off the ground.
“Those who have been arrested all come from the Mullingar locality. CCTV is playing a major part in this investigation.”
Gardai were in the process of preparing a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions when Mr Dolan, a student at NUI Galway, passed away. It is now expected that their investigation will be upgraded to manslaughter or murder. Re-arrests are likely in the case, according to sources. It is understood that Andrew did not know the group with which he had the altercation. Sources say this group were “highly intoxicated” by the time they came across the victim.
He was taken to Mullingar's Midlands Regional Hospital but later transferred to the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin which specialises in head injuries.
Andrew's parents Joe and Rosie maintained a bedside vigil over the Christmas holidays before making the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support machine. Andrew is also survived by one older and one younger brother.
Local councillor and friend of the family Enda Stenson said that the death has left the community “numb with hurt”.
“The Dolan family are one of the most respected and popular families in Leitrim. They are synonymous in Carrick-on-Shannon. The hearts of every person in the area goes out to them at this difficult time,” he told the Herald. “It is such a terrible tragedy to fall on this family at a time like this. He was a young, happy, popular and bubbly young man. The whole community is just shocked.”
A website has been set up for the student described as “a very popular young man”.
Last night, one pal wrote: “So awful and tragic, kind thoughts and prayers to all his family and friends” while another posted: “R.I.P. Andrew. Condolences to the Dolan Family. No words could express how people feel at this time. May he Rest in Peace.”
Witnesses in the Pearse Street area of Mullingar on December 23 between 2am and 3am are asked to call Mullingar Garda station on 0449384035, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800666111 or any station.