The mother of an Italian man who was left paraplegic after an unprovoked bottle attack in a Dublin park more than 20 years ago has died, a family friend has said.
Simonetta Nasi, whose son Guido was left paralysed and in need of full time care after the attack at Fairview Park in 1999, had been ill for a number of years and passed away at her home in Turin on Friday.
Bernadette Kelly, who became close with the Nasi family after gardaí asked her to act as a translator for Simonetta, said she spoke with her by telephone on Sunday.
“She told me that she only had a few days left,” Ms Kelly told The Irish Times.
“I found it very difficult, because ever since Guido was attacked we have been in constant contact.
“But she was reassuring me, that I wasn’t to be sad about it because she was glad to go, she couldn’t take anymore.
“She said not to worry, that she had everything sorted out for Guido. She had everything worked out for people to care for him and to have guardians for him.”
After falling ill two years ago, Simonetta arranged for Mr Nasi to be cared for at a nursing home, Ms Kelly said.
The Dublin-based grandmother said she will continue to keep in contact with Mr Nasi, with whom she communicates through his carer on the telephone.
Ms Kelly said the 38-year-old has written an autobiography – translated from Italian as The Fighter – which has been published in his native Italy, and which Mr Nasi wants to see published in Ireland.
He is hoping to raise funds through the sale of the book here for a foundation to care for young people with a brain injury, being set up in the name of Pádraig Schäler.
Mr Schäler, a young Irish cyclist, suffered a catastrophic brain injury when he was involved in a serious road accident in Cape Cod in the US seven years ago.
“Guido always wanted to live in Ireland,” said Ms Kelly.
“ But it wasn’t possible. Simonetta said she couldn’t organise it, there was nowhere here he could go to. So he wants to raise funds for this foundation.
“He is trying to pay back a bit to Ireland, for what Ireland did for him.”
Mr Nasi and his mother were welcomed at Áras an Uachtaráin last year by President Michael D Higgins as the embodiment of "forgiveness and courage".
Addressing a reception for the Irish Tourist Assistance Service, Mr Higgins said Mr Nasi's presence was a marker of "resilience and of hope and belief in the human spirit".
James Osborne, the 31-year-old who smashed a beer bottle over Mr Nasi's head, was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison. Mr Nasi told the court at the time his experience was "a nightmare from which I try to wake myself".