An emotional candlelit vigil was held in Ballybough on Monday evening, as the community rallied to show their support to a man injured in a vicious assault last weekend.
Paddy Hansard (75) was attacked with a shovel at Courtney Place flats on his way home from the pub over the weekend, and remains in a critical condition in the Mater Hospital with both spinal and brain injuries.
The local community organised the vigil for Paddy, who along with his 16 siblings, has lived in the locality for most of his life. Hundreds attended the gathering, with Cllr Christy Burke telling Dublin Gazette that people came from across the capital to join the local community.
“It was a very emotional, spiritual event. People who worked with Paddy, who lived beside him or went to school with him came from near and far to show support to him and his family.
“All the comments made were positive, about how Paddy was a good character, an honest man who would never do a bad thing to anyone. It was a beautiful vigil, that really gave everyone that was there the measure of Paddy’s character and just how lovely of a guy he is,” Burke said.
“The focus was really on Paddy and his family. I was speaking with Paddy’s brother Paul who said that the vigil and messages of support on social media has been a source of positivity for them.
“Even the kids were hanging up posters that said ‘Get Well Paddy’ on the entrance to the flats last night, it was such a dignified gathering of the community, of Paddy’s neighbours and the local businesses as well. There was even a representation from An Garda Siochana to show their respects. All thoughts were with Paddy last night.”
Councillor Nial Ring, who was also at the vigil, said that the assault struck a chord with those in the local community, particularly the more elderly population of Ballybough.
Speaking to Dublin Gazette, Cllr Ring said: “My own grandmother still lives in the area, and the elderly in the area are now wary after the assault on Paddy. He was mentioned in numerous masses over the weekend, with the Parish priest being sure to keep him in everyone’s thoughts.
“It’s very emotional. The Hansard family have been in the area for generations, and everyone knows someone in the family. Paddy worked for over 40 years as a scaffolder and was enjoying his retirement, he was so embedded in the area.
“The assault has definitely struck a chord with people in Ballybough, but the vigil was a community response with care. People are showing so much good will to his family, and so much support.”
“Thanks to Lorraine Gavin for organising [the vigil], Sr Nuala for leading the prayers and Maureen Grant from St. Agatha’s for her invaluable assistance”.
A man was arrested in relation to the incident but has since been released and a file has been sent to the DPP.
Investigating gardaí are appealing for witnesses to contact the incident room at Mountjoy Station.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Mountjoy Garda Station on 01-6668601, the Garda Confidential Line 18000 666 111 or any Garda station.