Members of the Christian Scully Memorial Fund, with the help of a once-off grant from the Southern Health Board, presented a wheelchair-accessible bus to the Cork branch of Headway Ireland, the national support group for people with acquired brain injury.
Christian Scully, from Greenwood Estate in Togher, Cork, was assaulted on January 28, 2002, at Sober Lane in the city.
He never regained consciousness and died nine months later.
Friends set up the fund shortly afterwards and raised more than €18,000.
Kevin McCoy, one of Christian’s friends and spokesperson for the fund, said the positive effect the bus has had on Headway clients was overwhelming.
“It’s a tough day for us but it’s great to see the bus and the benefit it brings. I would like to thank the people of Cork for their generosity. The fund will keep going. We’re having a soccer tournament again in September,” he said.
Headway Ireland has 10 regional centres but the new eight-seater Opel Movano presented in Cork yesterday is its first bus.
A plaque inside is dedicated to Christian’s memory.
Headway’s Cork manager Florence O’Connell said the bus will give their clients a new lease of life.
“This will have a very positive impact on the lives of those with acquired brain injury, to access rehabilitative services and social outings hitherto inaccessible.”
Clients previously relied on public transport or the Garda Community Service bus.
“People had to turn down opportunities in the past, especially for supported-employment that was just not accessible to them. That will no longer be the case,” Ms O’Connell said.
“The bus will make a huge difference to how our clients think. It gives them more choice and freedom.”
She thanked Johnson & Perrott car dealers for their support.
Paul Sheehan, aged 21, The Glen, Cork, and Ross Stapleton, aged 21, also of The Glen, are serving life sentences for Mr Scully’s murder.
Headway Ireland helpline: 1890 200 278.