Appeal to help fly injured Hartstown man home from Portugal

by Sylvia Pownall

The family of a Fingal man who suffered a serious head injury while on holidays are desperately trying to get him back home to Ireland for treatment.

Dad-of-two Paul Byrne (66) was on the second day of his trip away with pals in Alvor, Portugal when he was knocked down while hailing a taxi.

His wife, Liz, and children Ciaran and Roisin flew to Faro to be by his bedside and have set up a fundraiser to pay for an air ambulance, which will cost €20,000.

Ciaran told Dublin Gazette: “He is being treated for pneumonia, but they can’t operate on his brain because it’s an accumulation of small bleeds. He doesn’t know where he is or who he is. He’s left sitting in a wheelchair facing the wall and he doesn’t speak the language. We need to get him home.”

Paul, from Hartstown, was left with a fractured skull after he crossed the road to get into a taxi and a passing cab reversed into him by mistake, thinking he was flagging it down.

Ciaran said: “He has a massive fracture of the skull and swelling on the brain. He was transferred to Faro to intensive care, then he got pneumonia.

“Six days in, he regained consciousness, but the doctors said he might never speak again. He is speaking but he doesn’t remember us; it’s like he’s gone back 30 years.

“He’s just left strapped in the bed or in the wheelchair all day. They say they’ve done all they can for him. We need to get him home so he can be rehabilitated.

“My da’s just wasting away in a hospital while all this is going on. He needs to get home around his own people.

“The language barrier is very difficult. All the while, my dad’s confused as hell in the bed or in the corridor. It’s an absolute nightmare; we don’t know where to turn.”

Paul goes on holidays every year with the same group of friends from Cavan, having moved to Mullagh from Dublin in 2001.

He had no holiday insurance and the red tape around his accident has left the family in crisis.

Pals in Mullagh are holding a fundraiser in Tyrell’s pub on Saturday, October 12, and the online fund has already raised in excess of €15,000.

Ciaran said: “They’re moving mountains to help us and we’re very grateful. It’s absolutely amazing the support we’ve had.”

To support the Byrne family’s efforts to bring Paul home, see the GoFundMe page here.

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