The mother of a young man who died in a senseless attack has joined a Garda campaign urging young people not to use their fists when out socialising.
Rosie Dolan said that when the life of her son, Andrew, was taken away everyone became a victim — including his three attackers.
The 20-year-old student from Carrick on Shannon, Co Leitrim, was out with friends on 23 December 2011 when he was subjected to an unprovoked attack by three people outside a chipper in Mullingar, Co Westmeath.
He died 10 days later, on New Year’s Day 2012, at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.
Taking part in the Garda’s ‘Use Your Brain, Not Your Fists’ campaign, Ms Dolan said: “It was Christmas time and he was in Mullingar and he was the victim of an unprovoked vicious assault and the final blow lifted him up into the air and he want back of his head and his head hit the pavement.”
She said the three attackers “didn’t go out that night to kill anyone, but, by using their fists, Andrew is dead”.
She said the attackers, two male and one female, were aged 18, 19 and 20 at the time.
“Andrew’s life was robbed from him, but they hadn’t considered their futures.
“We all became victims that night. Andrew was the biggest victim, but they are victims of what they did. I’m a victim for the rest of my life, all because of a few moments of senseless alcohol-fuelled violence.” She said people needed to realise that “a punch can, and does, kill” and urged those who know they become aggressive after taking alcohol to refrain from drinking.
Parents of Galway man Shane Grogan, who was left seriously brain damaged after an unprovoked attack in August 2012, have also joined the campaign.
“He was out enjoying himself one night,” said his dad Joe. “I met him and had a few pints with him. A few hours later we got a phone call to say he was on the ground injured.”
He had suffered profound head injuries after being struck with a brick.
His mother Joan said: “I wanted Shane to survive, but I wanted Shane back.”
Joe said their son had just purchased a new bike and would often do 50-60k in an evening after work.
He said they were grateful they still had their son with them and knew of other circumstances where parents were robbed of their child.
But he added: “We hope someday this madness will stop, that people will stop using their fists and use their brains. The consequences are tragic.”
The video was the work of the Garda Sligo-Leitrim Division in conjunction with Leitrim Comhairle na nÓg and Lock Bó Films.
In it, Sergeant Kelvin Courtney, Crime Prevention Officer, advised people being attacked or witnessing their friend being attacked to first get themselves out of the situation and seek the assistance of gardaí, or security staff or an adult.
He said tragedies also affect the offender, in that it can stop them from travelling, getting a job and can affect their entire family.
“There is a moment before you throw that fist, before that kick, that you can stop this — engage your brain and use your brain, not your fists,” he said.
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