The father of a two-year-old boy who fell from a rooftop balcony last Saturday has said doctors have "worked miracles" to keep his son alive, writes David Raleigh.
Speaking at a special Mass for toddler Neil Shanahan this evening, his father Michael paid tribute to the doctors and paramedics who helped save his son who fell from the sixth-floor rooftop balcony of the Limerick Strand Hotel.
"We are indebted particularly to the frontline emergency responders at the University Hospital here in Limerick (UHL) and all at the emergency department, the doctors and nurses, at the hospital for their incredible work as his life hang in the balance," he said.
Little Neil was later transferred from UHL to Temple Street Children's Hospital Dublin where his condition had improved from critical to serious-but-stable.
"To the physicians and their nursing team at Temple Street Hospital, we say the deepest 'thank you' also," Mr Shanahan said.
Neil's mother Martina Collins remained at her son's hospital bed as the Mass continued in the family's local parish in St Munchins, Limerick.
"As with your peers in Limerick and our incredible very first responder, you have worked miracles so far and continue to give Neil the best possible attention and care," Mr Shanahan added in his tribute doctors.
"We thank all the medical teams as well for the incredible passion they have shown us as parents and our family members over these days," he said.
The emotional father of three boys, Billy, 1, Neil, 2, and Mairtin, 5, said: "Martina and I have been blessed with the birth of three fabulous children, one of whom, Neil, as you all know was almost taken from us on Saturday last in a fall."
"While we were not counting our blessings immediately, after discovering what happened to Neil, we have ever since been counting many, many blessings."
Despite falling 20 metres onto garden furniture at the hotel,the young boy is showing signs of recovery.
"Thanks to the incredible care and skill of so many, he is in s stable condition in ICU in Temple Street," Mr Shanahan said.
"It's still very early days yet, but he is responding as well to treatment as could be expected in the circumstances of falling the height that he did."
Mr Shanahan, marking out special praise for an American doctor who had been passing by at the time and who was the first person to attended to Neil, said: "We were blessed first of all by the presence of the first responder...who happened to be there at the time, for her intervention and care."
Mr Shanahan thanked local priests Canon Donal McNamara, PP, St Munchins Church; Fr Pat Seaver, CC, St Munchins; and Monsignor Dan Neenan, PP, Monaleen, who married Neil's parents.
"Thank you for arranging this very heartfelt and much appreciated prayer service of healing for Neil," he said.
"We have no doubt but all the many, many prayers have added up for Neil and we are deeply grateful for this," he added.
Mr Shanahan also thanked neighbours, friends, "and complete strangers" for their continued support.
"It has truly mattered and has helped us through these days and will help us through those that follow."
Mr Shanahan asked for people to continue to pray for his son, who sustained multiple injuries to his internal organs.
"Neil is, as I said, in a stable condition but we would ask you to continue to pray and hope for his recovery."
"He was baptised at this church two years ago and we hope and pray that we will all, as a family, be back here in future celebrating very good days indeed."
Over 200 people attended the Mass including the manager of the Limerick Strand Hotel, Sean Lally, as well as local dignitaries, such as Fianna Fáil TD Willie O'Dea and the mayor of Limerick, Kieran O' Hanlon.
"We pray for Neil, that he will be restored to full health, to his family, to this parish, and his home town of Limerick, Canon Donal McNamara, PP, St Munchin's Church, told the packed church.
"It's miraculous that he survived that horrendous fall," Fr McNamara said.
"A few days ago we returned from Lourdes on the diocesan pilgrimage, and we bring with us every year many many invalids and sick people, and yet we believe that miracles do happen," Fr McNamara said.
"People were there of all ages, from infancy right up to adulthood and further on, and all who travelled, believed that they will be restored, in one way or another."
"We realise there are many others worse off," he said.
"With God's holy will (Neil) will be restored."
Bishop Brendan Leahy who could not attend the mass, passed on a message of support to the family.
Fr McNamara added: "We pray for (Neil's) brothers and parents, family, and extended family, during these difficult and challenging days."
Fr Pat Seaver, Curate, St Munchins Church, offered up prayers for "all the other children in Crumlin Children's Hospital".
He also remembered a two-year old boy who was tragically killed in an accident in the driveway of his home in Connemara last Wednesday.
"We pray for all parents who are suffering in any way, especially Neil's parents during these challenging times," Fr McNamara said.