Ballybough assault: Pensioner critical with spinal and brain injuries

Arrested man has been released without charge and file is being prepared for DPP

A pensioner in his 70s remains in a Dublin hospital in intensive care in an induced coma, after being assaulted at his home in the inner city at the weekend.

Paddy Hansard, a member of a well-known family from the Ballybough area of the city, suffered serious head and spinal injuries in the assault in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Gardaí believe Mr Hansard had been socialising in a local pub on Friday night into the early hours of Saturday when he was attacked as he made his way into his flat at Courtney Place in Ballybough.

A man in his 50s who was arrested on Saturday afternoon is regarded as the chief suspect in the case. Gardaí believe this man, who is not related to Mr Hansard, is known to him.


The man was released this evening without charge and a file is being prepared for the DPP.

Disturbing the neighbours

A number of local sources said the arrested man had a reputation in the area for disturbing neighbours into the early hours with loud music and parties.

Gardaí are trying to establish whether the attack on Mr Hansard was in any way linked to his objecting in the past to noise coming from a flat in the area where he lived.

The injuries he sustained are so severe that gardaí believe he may have been thrown down the stairs in the flats complex or hit with a shovel, or both.

He was taken from the scene of the attack by ambulance to the Mater Hospital, where spinal and head injuries were diagnosed, including a number of bleeds on his brain.

While consideration was being given to transferring Mr Hansard to Beaumont Hospital for more specialist head injury treatment, his condition stabilised on Sunday.

He remained in critical condition at the Mater Hospital, where those familiar with his condition said he was in an induced coma and may undergo surgery for his spinal injury on Monday.

A vigil is expected to be held in Courtney Place at 8.30pm on Monday as a show of support for Mr Hansard.

Former lord mayor of Dublin, Cllr Nial Ring, said the injured man's family were very well-known in the area, adding there was shock that an elderly neighbour had been assaulted and so badly injured.

‘Well-liked, well-respected’

“Paddy Hansard is one of 21 children, and many of them are still in the Ballybough area – they are well-liked and well-respected, and this has shocked everyone,” he said.

The Garda released a statement on Saturday morning appealing for information, and the suspect was arrested shortly afterwards.

“Gardaí in Mountjoy are investigating a serious assault which occurred at approximately 2am on Saturday, August 17th, at Courtney Place, Ballybough, Dublin 3.

“A male in his (70s) suffered serious head and spinal injuries during the assault and was taken to the Mater Hospital, where he is in a critical condition. The scene is preserved and awaiting Garda Technical examination.

“Gardaí are appealing for any persons who may have witnessed the assault or who can assist gardaí in the investigation to contact Mountjoy Garda station.”

Gardaí later confirmed a man in his 50s was arrested on Saturday afternoon and was being detained at Mountjoy Garda station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times