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'Every parent's worst nightmare': Bereft parents condemn senseless violent attacks

Andrew Dolan was brutally attacked by three people outside a fast-food restaurant in 2011.

Andrew Dolan.
Andrew Dolan.
Image: Screengrab/RTE

THE FATHER OF Andrew Dolan, who tragically died after he was set upon by three people and viciously attacked in Mullingar, has said there is far too much acceptance from Irish society of violent, senseless attacks on our streets.

Andrew Dolan was out with friends on 23 December 2011, when he was attacked and assaulted by three people outside an fast-food restaurant in the town. Six fatal blows resulted in brain damage and after being transferred to Beaumont Hospital, he died on New Year’s Day 2012.


This week, a man and woman in their 20s were acquitted of Dolan’s manslaughter, getting community service in lieu of a prison sentence. Another male is now serving a three-year sentence for Dolan’s manslaughter.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Ryan Tubridy Show, Joe Dolan, said he was “unhappy” and “disappointed” with the criminal justice system.

The NUIG biomedical student from Carrick-on-Shannon was described by his father as a wonderful son who took pride in his accomplishments.

“There was always a higher mountain and the day was never long enough. He loved life, what it had to offer and he certainly lived it to the full,” said Joe.

Speaking about the night of his son’s attack, he said he and his wife got a call in the middle of night. “Every parents nightmare,” he said.

Phonecall in the night 

“We were told that Andrew had been involved in an accident and were asked to get there as quick as possible,” he said.

When they arrived in the hospital he said he was hopeful that his son would recover as he was sitting up in bed, adding “I even had a suit with me for work the next day”.

However, his son’s condition rapidly deteriorated and after a scan it was discovered he had suffered a brain injury and was transferred to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, where he died nine days later.

He said the family drew some comfort from the fact that his son’s organs had been donated and that some of the recipients are doing quite well, he said.

“The reason I am talking to you this morning is to emphasis the senselessness of these random acts of senseless violence that are so prevalent on our streets every weekend in Ireland,” adding that there seems to be acceptance of it.

He said people should come to the Richmond Unit in Beaumont Hospital to “see the tragedies of these appalling senseless acts of violence and see the families that are ruined, who have lost loved ones…” he said.

He was critical of the criminal justice system stating that the outcome was “unsatisfactory” for the family.

While he said that no sentence would have brought back their son he felt a custodial sentence should have been given.

“We were let down and those that walk the streets were let down,” he said, adding that everyone should have the right to walk the streets without the fear of being attacked. 

Read: ‘I don’t want this to happen to anyone else ever again’>

Read: Families to sue British Government over Dublin-Monaghan bombings>

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