Autistic boy assaulted by gang gets trip to Disneyland

A Cork charity has given an all-expenses-paid trip to Disneyland to a teenage boy with autism who was the victim of a horrific assault.

Autistic boy assaulted by gang gets trip to Disneyland

Liam Davin was on Red FM on Thursday morning and told host Neil Prendeville of his horror at discovering that a group of teenagers had force-fed his son twigs and made him expose himself.

John Looney, a volunteer with the Cork City Hospitals Children’s Club, heard the boy’s father tell how the gang uploaded footage of the assault to social media.

Mr Looney contacted the programme to offer Mr Davin’s son a place on the charity’s annual trip to Disneyland Paris.

“What happened to that boy was absolutely diabolical,” Mr Looney said.

“We thought, why not bring him along [to Disneyland]? He is going to have it tough over the next days and weeks so this is something to look forward to, and his family will know that he will be with a group that will look after him 110%,” he said.

Mr Davin in turn contacted Mr Looney to express his gratitude. “He was absolutely over the moon with it and said it was a lovely gesture,” Mr Looney said.

Founded in 1992, the Cork City Hospitals Children’s Club brings sick and deserving children from Cork University Hospital, Mercy Hospital, St Gabriel’s, and the Cork Deaf Association on various trips, including an annual visit to Disneyland.

The charity is made up of a group of some 40 volunteers. Donations can be made to the charity’s account at Bank of Ireland, Wilton. Sort code 90-28-05, account number 34653800.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Minister for Children and Youth Affairs James Reilly said that any contact between the minister and the boy is “a private matter”.

It was reported that Mr Reilly has made contact with the Davin family, and said the case had left him “appalled as a minister and upset as a parent”.

The spokesperson declined to comment on the reports and said it was a private matter for Mr Reilly.

Mr Reilly had spoken of the incident at the opening of the Snowflakes autism support centre for children, in Swords, Dublin, on World Autism Day on Thursday.

Mr Reilly, whose adult son has autism, said he could not “let the opportunity pass” without commenting on what had happened, adding that the incident was shocking for the entire population.

“I just want to say I can’t say much about that because it’s a matter for the gardaí, but I will say this: Such behaviour is unacceptable, it’s utterly disrespectful. When we diminish others we do more to diminish ourselves.”

READ MORE: Father speaks of heartbreak over gang attack on autistic son


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