By Eoin English
A cancer patient who was facing a weekend in hospital has thanked Coast Guard volunteers for driving him home through deep snow today.
Lawrence O'Connor, from Innishannon, was had been in Cork University Hospital for the last 10 days, was driven home in a 4x4 jeep by the deputy area officer with Crosshaven Coast Guard unit, Victor Shine, along with another patient, Maria O'Donoghue, from Ardfield, who is recovering from surgery.
Mr O'Connor, a former mountain rescue volunteer who has worked in Scotland, said in his almost 40 years in Innishannon, he has never seen such treacherous or challenging conditions on the roads.
"Victor's driving skills were amazing. There were lots of obstacles in his way. We passed dozens of crashed and abandoned cars. There is just no way I could have gotten home without him," he said.
Mr O'Connor, who is being treated for pancreatic cancer, was in CUH for tests on his lungs. He is awaiting the results of those tests, but said he was well enough to be discharged.
But when the weather closed in, he said he was concerned he wouldn't be able to get home to his wife, Eleanor and daughter Niamh.
"The staff in 4D ward were fantastic, they have been outstanding. But you'd be concerned for those at home with the weather forecast," he said.
"And you have to be conscious there are others who need beds.
"I was getting better, there is pressure on the numbers of beds, and you sort of feel that you should let someone else come in.
"So it's just great to be able to get home, for several reasons."
He has urged people not to venture outside until the weather warning is lifted.