Troubled Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan is under psychiatric care at an undisclosed location following her arrest after an air rage incident on an Aer Lingus flight on Monday, her mother has revealed.
Eileen O’Riordan said her daughter and her husband of 20 years, Don Burton, are in the middle of a marriage break-up.
The Limerick-born star sold 40m albums worldwide with the Cranberries.
Eileen said Dolores is in a “very vulnerable” state and is under the care of a psychiatric doctor at an undisclosed location.
“She is going through a marriage separation at the moment. That’s hard for anyone,” said Eileen, who lives in Ballybricken, Co Limerick.
Dolores, 43, was arrested at Shannon Airport shortly before 5am on Monday in connection with alleged assaults on a flight attendant and a garda on board a flight from JFK airport in New York.
While Dolores, a mother of three, is “doing much better”, she failed to recognise her mother when Eileen visited her at Shannon garda station following the incident. Eileen said that medical results indicated there was no alcohol or drugs detected in her daughter’s system.
Speaking to Limerick journalist Aine Fitzgerald, Eileen said: “Dolores was inside in a room. She was lying on the floor, curled up. She had her head covered and her face covered up. She was trying to protect herself.
“I gave her a hug. I tried to talk to her. She didn’t realise I was there at all. I put Lourdes water on her.
“She didn’t know who I was. She was trying to cover herself from me.”
Eileen first became aware of the incident on Monday morning after her son received a call.
“I was getting up at about half past six or seven in the morning,” she said. “I was expecting her, getting her breakfast ready.”
She said had spoken with her daughter the previous day but that a mother’s instinct told her something was not right.
“She rang on Sunday to say she was coming,” said Eileen. “She was OK then but she wasn’t herself. She wasn’t Dolores. She would hide it from me. If I asked ‘are you sleeping?’ she would say: ‘Oh I am, I am’.”
While she had not seen her daughter for a number of months, Dolores would ring Eileen most days, and going on their conversations Eileen feared that something was going to happen.
“I was waiting for it, hoping that it wouldn’t happen in New York,” said Eileen. “It would be awful because she wouldn’t have the support there.
“She is suffering from lack of sleep over the weeks and her brain is racing all the time. She is working very hard. When she was in New York she kept saying ‘when I go home to my mother in Ireland, I will be fine’. She was working in New York producing a new album.”
While Dolores continues to receive medical attention, Eileen said: “She is a lot better than what she was, thanks be to God.
“She was so bad when I saw her first in Shannon. She is under the care of a psychiatric doctor at the moment, a very nice lady.
“She is still in Ireland. She has a nurse with her and a doctor visits her every day because she can’t go out.”
Dolores speaks on the phone to her children, Taylor, 16, Molly, 13, and Dakota, 9, who are currently with their father Don in Canada.
“They just know that mommy isn’t well at the moment,” said Eileen.
Reflecting on the alleged air rage incident itself, Eileen said Dolores was being hassled on the flight for autographs.
“She had two glasses of wine with her dinner when she started off but she had no alcohol or drugs in her system,” said Eileen. “That is completely clear.
“She was accompanied by a producer and songwriter. I believe there were people hassling her to sing and for photographs on the plane. She just lost it.”
Though the full facts have yet to be established, it is reported that Dolores stamped on a flight attendant’s foot and headbutted a garda. She was arrested and subsequently hospitalised at University Hospital Limerick.
“She is not like that,” said Eileen, who last spoke to Dolores on Wednesday morning. “Everyone is saying the media have blown it out of all proportion. There is a lot of anti-Limerick in it, a lot of that in it.”
The flight attendant received medical attention at University Hospital Limerick.
“That girl is a friend of hers,” said Eileen. “She is a very nice girl. She knows her for years. She was getting out of her seat because as far as I know the man behind her was poking her. She just lost it and got up and walked on the girl. She had big, old boots on her.”
While Eileen said she has not read the media coverage, the general public have been very kind and respectful of her daughter at this difficult time, including the gardaí.
“I must say they were extremely nice,” she said. “They couldn’t have been nicer to Dolores and myself at the time. There is an email from somebody who was on the plane to say that it is a terrible reaction — an over-reaction.
“Anybody I have spoken to — my friends, my parishioners and all the community, all I have got is prayers and good wishes and love from everybody I have spoken to.”
Eileen credits her faith for giving her the strength to remain steadfast for her daughter.
“I never cried about it,” she said.
“I pray. I don’t know what I would do only for my religion. There are so many good people — so many I have met are lovely and are thinking of her and praying for her and what more can we do at this stage?”
‘She was on the ground kicking, like in a tantrum’
By Dan Danaher
A county councillor, who was a passenger with her two teenage daughters on the Aer Lingus flight, said she was “shocked and disgusted” after partially witnessing last Monday’s incident involving Dolores O’Riordan.
Ann Norton said she was particularly upset, as her daughter Nicole, who has a physical disability, was terrified.
Ms Norton is manager of the voluntary-funded Clare Crusaders Children’s Clinic, which provides free therapy and specialist treatment to more than 350 children with special needs in the county.
She said she witnessed three airport police arrive on the plane, but they didn’t go near the Cranberries star for “a considerable period, because she was so abusive, despite extensive efforts to try and calm her down”.
She said Ms O’Riordan, wearing a mask, was the last to arrive on the plane. She overhead the singer say: “You know what stalkers are like.”
Ms O’Riordan took a seat in business class, just about four seats away from Ms Norton, in economy class. She said the Cranberries lead singer was “quite loud”, started singing for the duration of the flight, and could be heard above the noise of the television.
As the plane got close to Shannon, she observed Ms O’Riordan getting quite aggressive towards staff and passengers.
She said the singer was wearing heavy black boots with studs on them and allegedly “kicked out at an Aer Lingus air hostess”.
She also claimed Ms O’Riordan was roaring that she “paid half a million in tax to this fucking country” and was a worldwide legend.
The flight left JFK at 6.40pm on Sunday and arrived in Shannon at 4.40am, more than an hour ahead of schedule.
Ms Norton said that, as a result, passengers had to wait longer than expected to disembark, with the three airport police officers arriving on the plane
“At one stage, she was lying on the ground kicking the floor like she was having a tantrum,” she said.
She praised the Aer Lingus staff for being very professional throughout the flight, despite being placed in a very difficult environment.
“Air hostesses and passengers shouldn’t have to put up with this type of behaviour in a confined space during a flight,” she said.
“Nicole [her daughter] was terrified. I was very upset she was scaring Nicole. The biggest fear we had was she could come out past us. However, she was kept on the plane until everyone had left.”
“People are trying to promote flights out of Shannon Airport and encourage people to visit the area. The type of behaviour displayed by Dolores O’Riordan in front of locals and visitors left me disgusted.
“She made people feel uncomfortable on the flight. She was very abusive and hurt an air hostess. I got off the flight in shock.”
Meanwhile, Lindsey Holmes, a spokeswoman for Ms O’Riordan, said she could not comment at present on any claims.
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