An English teenager who lost a finger during St Patrick’s Day celebrations was recovering in hospital today.
Gardaí are investigating how Guy Wallace’s little finger was severed as revellers celebrated the national holiday in Dublin city centre.
Despite an extensive search by officers in the area, the finger is still missing.
The 17-year-old said he was attacked by a gang of thugs after he was asked where he was from on O'Connell Street.
However gardaí – who confirmed a man sustained serious hand injuries in an incident on O’Connell Street – are trying to establish exactly what happened.
A garda spokeswoman said: “We can’t confirm an assault. At this stage we believe there was no assault, but the claims are being investigated.
“Gardaí are trying to establish exactly what happened.”
Guy, a keen pianist and rugby player, underwent emergency surgery in Dublin’s Mater Hospital.
He is expected to return to the UK where he will be treated in a specialist plastic surgery unit.
His father William Wallace, a councillor on Somerset County Council, told a radio station he only heard about the incident when a garda answered his son’s mobile phone on Monday night.
“We were absolutely shocked,” said Mr Wallace.
“It seems we’ve lost his finger with both joints taken off. It was taken off at the base. At the moment I’m waiting to hear from the hospital regarding a transfer to a plastics unit in the UK.”
The teenager told his father there had been an altercation with a group of youths in a fast food outlet and as Guy fled the scene, his finger was pulled off by either that or another group.
Mr Wallace told RTÉ radio his son – who had left his group of friends – cannot remember much about that incident, but recalled being punched in the face and not being able to see.
The Conservative councillor said his son was terrified and thought he was going to die.
But despite his son’s condition, Mr Wallace – who is a frequent visitor to the country – said he would bear no animosity to Ireland or the Irish.
“This kind of incident can happen anywhere in the world,” he said.