A TEENAGER who was attacked and stabbed several times has undergone emergency surgery to remove his spleen.
Henry Newham (17) was seriously injured after he was knifed in the attack at Railway Walk in Westport, Co Mayo, on Saturday night.
He was rushed to hospital where doctors were forced to remove his spleen as a result of the attack.
Three youths in their late teens were arrested over the attack.
The Rice College student is now in a stable condition in hospital, where it is hoped he will make a full recovery.
"The doctors say he is going to be okay but it was touch and go for a while. If it hadn't been for the emergency response unit who were on the scene so quickly he could have died. They kept him alive," said one local man.
Locals told of their shock at the attack on the young hurling player yesterday.
The student had been a member of the Westport under-16s hurling club and also played for Rice College.
"He is a lovely young guy, from a lovely family. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. He didn't know these guys. They are an outside element who only arrived in the town earlier that day," said one.
The student's parents Ian and Calli have been by his bedside at Mayo General Hospital since the incident. The family had lived in the UK but moved to Westport in 2001.
"The whole town feels so sorry for the Newhams. They are a lovely family and Henry is a lovely young lad. Thank God he will survive, but he will have to live with this for the rest of his life," added a local.
The attack happened at around 11pm on Saturday night and Henry was immediately brought to hospital.
Gardai later arrested three men in their late teens in relation to the incident. They were taken to Westport Garda Station where they were questioned under Section Four of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.
One of the men who was questioned in relation to the attack is understood to have been in HSE care but had gone missing from there recently.
Gardai are now appealing for witnesses to the attack.
They wish to talk to anyone who was in the vicinity of Railway Walk between 10.30pm and 11pm on Saturday night.
A technical examination of the scene was carried out by officer yesterday afternoon. Gardai say that inquiries into the attack are ongoing.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Westport Garda Station on 098-50230 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.