A Youghal man with a ‘heart of gold’ is in critical condition in Malta after he was hit by a car while on holiday with his wife.
David Cooley, 67, had only just arrived on the island from a late evening flight from Cork last Thursday when he was hit by the car as he crossed the road to a restaurant.
The father of three adult daughters was with his wife Margaret and friends at the time of the incident and is now in an induced coma at a Maltese hospital.
A spokesperson for the family said they are taking it ‘day by day’, but that Mr Cooley is in an induced coma and is in a critical, but stable condition.
Mr Cooley recently retired from his position with Cork County Council, a role for which he was well known in the town.
His retirement was marked by local radio station CRY FM.
“Enjoy your work and help out anyone you can help out, especially the older people,” he told the station when asked what advice he would have for his successor.
The family spokesperson said Mr Cooley had dreaded retirement as he loved his job so much: “He has a heart of gold, and would do anything for anyone, he was very well-known out and about in Youghal.
He’d be the sort who would meet someone when out, collect their tablets from chemists and drop them over to them, that was the kind of guy he is.
"He is a big man with a big heart and this is heartbreaking for his family who are having a very difficult time."
The spokesperson confirmed that the family is receiving consular assistance: “They are appealing for privacy, but appreciate the support they’ve received."
Mr Cooley has a special relationship with Malta, since he uncovered a historic naval crest from the island that had been in Irish homes for more than 60 years.
In 2016 this newspaper reported how the crest from the Maltese heritage site Fort St Angelo was given to Mr Cooley - an avid memorabilia collector - and he then had its history researched.
It was subsequently discovered that it came from Fort St Angelo, a fixture that is about 1,000 years old and served as a British garrison from 1800 to 1979.
The crest was later handed over to a Maltese museum by the Irish Navy.