No level of medical intervention could have saved the life of a toddler, who received fatal head injuries when he was run-over in the driveway of his home, an Inquest into his death heard.
Coroner for West Galway, Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin, was answering a query put by the boy’s devastated mother when he said that even if the accident had occurred outside Beaumont Hospital, the child would have not have survived such severe injuries.
Thomas O’Connor (29 months) of Derrydonnell North, Oranmore, was playing outside with his father, John, when the accident occurred on the evening of September 8 last year.
The child liked to play inside a spare vehicle parked in the driveway of their home, a Nissan Patrol jeep. The battery was dead, however, and he and his dad had fun pumping up a back wheel, and jump-starting it before the accident occurred.
John O’Connor said that he left his son playing in the driver’s seat of the Nissan, which had its bonnet left up, while he went to move his own Land Rover Discovery, which he had used to start the other vehicle.
He was driving forward when he felt a “bump” however, and jumped out immediately. His son was lying lifeless on the ground. He described the tragic accident as “life-changing” for himself and the child’s mother, Maeve.
She was inside the house at the time and when she heard John calling her name she ran out, carried the child to the garden and began CPR. Someone alerted a neighbour, Dr Joe Fitzgibbon, who found that the child had no heartbeat, and had no obvious injuries other than lacerations to his head.
Garda Declan O’Connor, who carried out a forensic examination of the scene, said that the rear wheel on the passenger side of the vehicle had hit the child.
He added that the height from ground to the bottom of the passenger window of the Land Rover was 110cm – Thomas measured 100cm, and would not have been seen by his dad as he had approached the vehicle.
Dr MacLoughlin said that no one would ever know for sure what had happened – that he may have been trying to get in the door of the Land Rover, or had tripped while walking towards it.
“We don’t know if the jeep hit him or he fell under the wheel – there are numerous ways he could have got into that position where the wheel went over him… we can speculate, but we will never know,” he said.
His mother asked the pathologist, Dr Margaret Sheehan, if her son’s life could have been saved had he been airlifted to hospital, but the answer was that death was instantaneous.
Dr MacLoughlin added: “Even if it happened in the grounds of Beaumont Hospital (the National Centre for Neurology), it wouldn’t have made a difference because his injuries were so severe.”
The Coroner returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence, that the child had died from acute traumatic brain injury with multiple skull fractures, consequent with the impact of a jeep.
“The father of Thomas said it was a life-changing event for so many people,” he said.
“He was obviously a bright and intelligent child, who delighted in all things that all children delight in. What should have been a very happy day to see his father arrive home turned out to be a very tragic day for the family, in which Thomas lost his life accidentally.
“I can only imagine how his mother and father felt at the time, and the flashbacks that occurred for all the people who were there.
“The death of a child, particularly a violent death, touches everyone.”
John O’Connor thanked the emergency services, neighbours, and the Gardaí – particularly Garda Pat Flanagan – who had helped them through the tragic loss of their son.
Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill as event confirmed
Galway Bay fm newsroom – Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill this weekend as an event has been announced for Sunday.
It’s been confirmed by organisers on social media – who say they’re being unfairly portrayed in a negative light.
In a statement, the Galway Car Scene group say they pay road tax like all other road users – and they have “every right” to be in Salthill this weekend.
It comes as they’ve confirmed the event will be taking place there on Sunday as originally planned.
They add it’s unfair to accuse them of blocking up Salthill and other parts of the city given the chronic traffic issues every day of the week.
They’ve also created an online petition calling for a designated place for car enthusiasts to go – which has so far gathered almost 250 signatures.
It claims the car enthusiast community in Galway has been unfairly painted as a negative and anti-social group.
The group say they’re happy to go elsewhere, but say any time they try to find a venue they’re shut out.
The event planned for Sunday has encountered significant opposition, much of which is based on a previous “Salthill Sundays” event held in May.
Those opposed say they’re not against an event of this kind in principle – but they strongly feel that Salthill just isn’t the right venue.
It’s also argued that if the organisers want to be taken seriously, they have to engage with stakeholders like Galway City Council and Gardaí to ensure a well-planned and safe event.
Cars down to one-way system on Salthill Promenade
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A one-way system of traffic may be introduced along the Promenade in Salthill to facilitate the introduction of temporary cycle lanes.
The suggestion appeared to come as a shock to some City Council members who supported the cycle lane in a vote last month – one has called for a “full discussion again” on what exactly they had actually approved.
Councillors had voted 17-1 in favour of the principle of providing a cycleway that will stretch from Grattan Road all along the Prom.
The motion that passed at the September meeting proposed that the Council “shall urgently seek” to create a two-way segregated cycle track on a temporary basis along the coastal side of the Prom.
It was agreed that from the Blackrock Tower junction to the Barna Road would be a one-way cycle track.
The motion was voted on without debate, which meant Council officials did not have an opportunity to question the proposal.
At a meeting on Monday, the debate was revisited when Uinsinn Finn, Director of Services for Transportation, indicated that a one-way traffic system would be introduced in Salthill to facilitate a two-way cycle lane from Grattan Road to Blackrock.
This could mean that the outbound lane of traffic, closest to the sea, could be closed to all traffic bar bikes.
Mr Finn said that he would have sought clarity at the previous meeting – if debate were allowed – about what was meant by ‘temporary’.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Galway Christmas Market gets go-ahead for next month
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It’s the first real sign of a restoration of normality in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors in the city – the return of the Christmas Market next month to Eyre Square.
This week, the City Council’s planning department gave the go-ahead for the outdoor retail and gourmet food ‘spread’ that has been part of the festive season in Galway since 2010.
The exception was last year when, like so many other public gatherings since the Covid crisis broke in March 2020, the event had to be cancelled because of public health concerns.
Christmas Market Organiser, Maria Moynihan Lee, Managing Director of Milestone Inventive, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune, that she had received official confirmation on Thursday from the City Council of the go-ahead being given for the event.
“This is really wonderful news for the city and especially so in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors. For every €1 spent at the market another €3 will be spent on the high street – this will be a real boost for Galway,” she said.
Maria Moynihan Lee confirmed that the market would have an earlier than usual start of Friday, November 12 and would run through until the Wednesday evening of December 22.
(Photo: Declan Colohan)