Model lucky to avoid losing eye over glass bottle

By Eoin English

A young model almost lost an eye after being struck by a glass bottle thrown in the crowd at the Longitude music festival.

Former Miss Cork Katie O’Donoghue, aged 24, who needed nine stitches to a forehead wound and who fears being scarred for life, has urged music fans to think twice about the consequences of such behaviour.

“I don’t think the person who threw the bottle thought about the impact it would have,” she said.

“Taking part in Miss Ireland gave me a platform and I was aspiring to take my modelling career further. I’m not sure where this leaves me now. I had been offered a job next week but I’ve had to postpone that.

The injury caused to Katie O'Donoghue during the bottle incident at Longitude in Marley Park, Dublin.

“And I’m unsure about what will happen after that because my eye is beginning to swell. It will be a while before I can decide what I do next.”

Katie, from Bishopstown, was Miss Cork in 2014 and is represented by the Fraser agency in Dublin.

She was at Longitude in Dublin’s Marlay Park on Friday with her boyfriend, Ryan Dineen, and friends when Ryan was lucky to escape injury after he was struck on the head by a flying bottle.

They were 100m from the stage enjoying the last act of the night, London grime artist Stomzy, when she was struck on the head by a glass bottle.

“It just came out of nowhere. I had no time to move or react. I felt this massive crack to my head,” she said.

“I fell to the ground and the blood flow was almost instant. I was bent over in the pain and couldn’t see. I began to panic because I didn’t know if it had gone into my eye.

“My boyfriend tried to pick me up. I don’t think he realised at first how badly I was hurt until blood started gushing onto his clothes. Paramedics arrived almost immediately. Blood was gushing everywhere.”

She was guided to a medical tent for treatment, and was assessed by a plastic surgeon in Cork yesterday, who said it could be be 18 months to two years before he can assess the full extent of the damage and determine possible treatment.

Katie O’Donoghue, a model who was named Miss Cork in 2014, has been told it could be two years before a plastic surgeon can assess the full extent of the damage. Picture: Miki Barlok

In a statement, Melvin Benn, the managing director of festival owners Festival Republic, said the circumstances surrounding the “alleged incident” are the subject of a Garda investigation. He said more than 35,000 people attended the festival and the incident was an isolated one.

Mr Benn said: "We are aware that unfortunately a woman sustained an injury to her forehead late on Friday night, the lady was treated on site by our medical team and returned to site at 5.30pm on Saturday for further check-up.

"We are pleased to learn the woman’s injury did not prevent her from watching Saturday night's headline act The Weeknd who came on stage later that evening at 9.30pm.

"We wish the woman a speedy recovery and will continue to assist An Garda Síochána with their investigation surrounding the circumstances of this incident, and therefore we cannot comment further as to do so, could impede such an investigation.

"Security measures on all aspects of the festival are carried out in consultation with An Garda Síochána based on intelligence, risk and safety assessments."

This story first appeared in today's Irish Examiner.

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