The family of a grandfather who suffered a serious head injury after being involved in an accident in Portugal say they are trying to raise the funds to get him home on an air ambulance to Ireland.
Paul Byrne, 66, was less than 48 hours into his break with friends in Portugal when he fell hitting his head on the ground after a taxi accidentally knocked him over.
“He has a massive fracture on the back of his skull and then he got bleeds on his brain,” explained his son Ciaran who with his sister Roisin and their mum Elizabeth flew out to Portugal to be with him.
Ciaran said his parents visit Portugal a few times a year and this time his dad had gone with friends and was on his way back to the hotel when the accident happened.
That was four weeks ago and Ciaran said, “he was in intensive care for 8-9 days. He still has bleeds on his brain, they are going down slowly and they (doctors) reckon they will heal themselves.”
He said they are concerned about the long-term impact of the head injury and say that Paul is confused and does not recognise them.
"We are anxious to get him home to Ireland and to get him rehabilitated. He does not know where he is or who we are.”
Paul had his European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with him but did not have travel insurance, says Ciaran.
Now friends from their hometown of Mullagh in County Cavan have begun fundraising to cover the estimated cost of bringing him home by air ambulance to Ireland.
Their initial target is €20,000.
The family has been told that Paul can leave the hospital next week and Ciaran says they want to get him home to Ireland “and he needs rehabilitation.”
“This is an absolute nightmare, it is like waking up in an absolute nightmare.”
The family moved from Blanchardstown in Dublin to Mullagh 18 years ago and he said “the support from the people in Mullagh, the support from everyone at home has been absolutely moving.
"Everybody is rallying around at home.”
So far over €18,000 has been raised on the GoFundMe page.
"Me and my family are just blown away by the support we have had since we started it and just can’t even put into words how grateful we will forever be for all of your generosity," said Ciaran.