Family seek support for paralysed shooting victim

by Rose Barrett
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By Rose Barrett

The family of an innocent shooting victim has called for support from the wider Dublin community for single mum Sinead and her daughter Leah.

On March 6 last, bubbly Sinead was the victim of a serious shooting attack – and shot in full view of her daughter Leah, then seven years old.

The youngest child of Helen and Kieran Connolly from Bluebell, Sinead’s five siblings and the extended family were totally in shock when gardaí contacted them about the shooting.

Sinead Connolly who was shot at home last March in front of her daughter

“Our Sinead was a well-liked,” said her sister Orla who is now looking after Leah.  “There hasn’t been one bad word said about Sinead in the locality. She was full of life, lived for her daughter, loved her make-up and hair – she always looked immaculate!

“She used to work in the Perfume Shop, was very outgoing and worked in other retails outlets in the area.”

“She was so good natured, did the shopping for each of my parents during the Covid and looked out for them,” said Orla, who has three older children and a stepdaughter. “The shooting occurred about one o’clock on a Saturday afternoon and I was going to take my stepdaughter Amelia down to Sinead for her birthday. Sinead was giving the two girls a fun pampering day.”

Orla previously worked with the Depaul Homeless Foundation but is now caring for Leah full time.

“Leah really needs her mum. She attends Scoil Muire Gan Smál primary school and they have been wonderful with her, and organised a psychotherapist for her.

“We haven’t even secured an assessment with Túsla yet so for Leah’s benefit, we need to provide private counselling before the longterm damage of the trauma sets in,” said Orla.

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Orla has since launched a GoFundMe page to raise funding for Sinead’s physical and mental well-being, along with counselling support for Leah.

“The injuries Sinead sustained are life-changing and challenging but thankfully she is slowly on the road to recovery. Being a real ‘girly girl’, she is now starting to put on her tan and make up – and beginning to look like herself again!

“She remains at St James Hospital and will soon go to the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire.

“She is paralysed from the chest down as one of the bullets lodging in her T3 vertebrae. She only has the use of her head and arms.

“But she has a long road to go, physically and mentally. She will not be able to return to her family home as it is located in the middle floor of a three-storey block.

“When she returns to live with Leah, she will need a purpose-built, wheelchair accessible accommodation.

“There is so much we have to do in advance, planning for her return but also to fundraise for her physical and mental recovery, along with Leah’s needs. She too needs to learn how to live with her mum’s changed abilities.

“Every cent will be spent on Leah and Sinead to build a better and brighter life for them together.

“The goodwill and support of the local community has been marvellous. Thanks to everybody for their kindness, and to all who donate to the GoFundMe campaign,” concluded Orla.

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