'Distressing' | 

Tom Niland (74) ‘depressed’ after year on life support following violent burglary

‘If he’s awake, he might try to say a few words but it’s very difficult because he still has the tubes in his throat to breathe. He can’t move’

Tom Niland

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

The cousin of a pensioner who suffered life-changing injuries during a violent attack at his home last year has said that it’s “shocking and distressing” to see him in a critical condition a year on.

Farmer Tom Niland (74) has been on life support at Sligo University Hospital since an aggravated burglary at his home on January 18, 2022 left him with serious injuries.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime, his cousin Michael Walsh gave an update on his health after visiting him in hospital.

He said Tom has trouble moving his body and still requires the help of a tube to breathe.

“Unfortunately, Tom isn’t much better,” Mr Walsh said.

“For the entire visit, he was in a deep sleep. Generally, if he’s awake, he might try to say a few words but it’s very difficult because he still has the tubes in his throat to breathe and feeding tubes and so on. He can’t move.

“Especially a year after, to think that he’s still like that, it’s shocking and it’s distressing.

“I spoke to the doctors about a week ago and he said it doesn’t look good. We’re living in hope, but he said it’s been so long that we can’t expect much of a change”.

Michael said that Tom has become depressed as a result of his injuries.

“They say this is what happens when someone comes out of some sort of situation like this and realises that you can’t move or breathe without assistance.

“He can see, but only out of one eye because he lost his sight in the other eye. So, he can see but I’ve seen him looking down and trying to move his hands or legs and he realises that he can’t. It’s very frustrating for him.

“He was very active and to end up like this is very distressing and very depressing for him. This is the problem – he has awareness now, but he has awareness of what he can’t do”.

He said that his family are grateful for the support they’ve received as he thanked the public for their kind messages.

“It’s had a massive impact on the whole area and the country. People from all over the country contact us about Tom.

“It is great to get the support and I’d like to thank everybody for that from myself and my family and Tom, of course.

“I do tell Tom when people enquire about him. I let him know and talk to him about these people. Hopefully it helps him,” he added.

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