Foréigean Gan Choinne / Random Acts of Violence

Tuesday, 6th November, 2018 5:49pm

Foréigean Gan Choinne / Random Acts of Violence

Rosie Dolan with her husband Joe at the graveside of their son Andrew..jpg

Foréigean Gan Choinne / Random Acts of Violence, on TG4 this week, explores random violent attacks in Ireland and the enduring effects they have on victims. 

Among the contributors is Rosie Dolan, mother of Andrew Dolan, who died on January 1, 2012, at the age of 20 – days after being assaulted by three people outside a chipper in Mullingar. 

Two of his attackers were acquitted of manslaughter and received community service.

The third admitted manslaughter and received a three-and-a-half-year sentence of which he has served two.

CCTV footage of the attack, shown in court, shows Andrew innocently scrolling on his phone leaving the chipper and passing those who would within minutes assault him. 

Andrew’s mother Rosie has worked on campaigns to educate young people on the dangers of aggressive behaviour and the lasting effects it can have for both victim and perpetrator. 

As a hotelier and landlord, she is also campaigning in her home town on Carrick-on-Shannon for pub-owners to be more responsible and to install CCTV footage.

Her recent work with Comhairle na nÓg Liatroim resulted in the successful Use you Brain, Not your Fists Campaign.

The programme airs tomorrow, Wednesday November 7 at 9.30pm on TG4.

Programme Summary

Eoghan McDermott goes on a journey to explore the increasingly prevalent but disturbing culture of random violent attacks in Ireland and the enduring effects they have on its victims. 

On St Stephen’s night 2016, Eoghan McDermott was left unconscious after an unprovoked violent attack in Clondalkin. 

After wishing a Happy Christmas to friends, he left a local pub, made his way towards the taxi rank and rang his girlfriend. He remembers nothing else until he woke up in Tallaght Hospital. 

A CT brain scan diagnosed a concussion and his tooth was knocked through his lip. 

After he was released his symptoms worsened and he was readmitted and underwent a second brain scan. 

Today he still suffers from headaches, ringing in his ear, and has lost his sense of taste and smell.

Eoghan was not robbed, he didn’t engage with his attackers, in fact he never even saw the attack coming. 

Two suspects were seen running away from the scene and they have never been caught. 

In the weeks after his attack, Eoghan received hundreds of messages and was approached by numerous people who had shared experiences; they too were violently assaulted for no reason, left abandoned on the street, physically and mentally battered and bruised. 

As a result of the attacks, they suffered bouts of epilepsy, insomnia and depression, while others were hospitalised, sometimes for several weeks. 

The messages were heartening at the time, but they got Eoghan thinking: how do you process what happened to you? 

One moment you’re walking down the street, minding your own business, the next you find yourself in a hospital bed, nursing your injuries, disoriented and perplexed as to how anyone could carry out such callous and senseless act. 

Where do you go from there? Where do you seek help? How does it affect the rest of your life? 

Eoghan goes in search of fellow victims to listen to their experiences; the harrowing circumstances of their attacks, the scars in the immediate aftermath and the long-term physical and mental impact it has had on them. 

This is not something that happens only in cities, in recent years gardaí have seen attacks like these on the rise in towns and villages the length and breadth of the country.

Other contributors

Family of Shane Grogan

August 4, 2012: Shane Grogan (28) was hit on the back of the head with a brick in Tuam, County Galway while walking his girlfriend home after a day at the Galway Races with his parents.

He is now paralysed, has a severe brain injury, is fed through a tube and requires 24-hour nursing care. 

His attacker was jailed for two and half years in 2013. 

Shane’s road to recovery has taken him from UCHG to Beaumount to NRH to UCHG to Leamington Spa Rehabilitation Centre in Birmingham and now to a local Nursing Home in Tuam. 

Shane receives occupational and rehabilitation therapy three days a week and has recently managed to write his name. 

Shane’s family were this year granted planning permission for a purpose-built house next to the family home so that he may come home at last. 

In recent years Shane’s family and friends have organised an annual family fun day to raise funds for the ongoing rehabilitation cost for Shane.

Ruth Maxwell

In May 2016, Ruth, a mother and grandmother, was walking along a lane in Clondalkin when a man grabbed her from behind and put a hunting knife to her throat. 

Ruth fought back and suffered life changing injuries in the struggle.

Minutes before she hadn’t a care in the world, as she took a shortcut to a Luas stop and was looking forward to starting a new job. 

It was a beautiful sunny day and Ruth had her headphones on, listening to David Bowie singing Absolute Beginners.

Ruth severed the tendons on three of her fingers on her dominant left hand.

“When I managed to pull knife down, I started to scream. 

“He just turned and ran and I was left standing there.”

Ruth had no choice but to run down the dirt track and came out to main road.

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