‘I thought Ronan was going to die’

Ronan McFeely yesterday in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
Ronan McFeely yesterday in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

The father of a 22 year-old Foreglen man left hospitalised after a “vicious” assault at the weekend says he thought his son was going to die.

Pascal McFeely’s youngest child Ronan remains in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast today after the attack in Limavady on Sunday morning.

“We got a call at about 2am on Sunday to say we needed to get to the hospital,” Pascal told the ‘Journal’. “When I heard what happened I thought Ronan was finished. When I saw him, and the shape he was in, I thought he wasn’t going to make it. It was a vicious attack. He couldn’t even speak when I first saw him. It was devastating.”

Pascal said his son, who is being treated for spinal injuries, initially had no feeling in his legs, but yesterday had regained some sensitivity. However, he said Ronan still wasn’t out of danger, and was undergoing further tests and a brain scan.

The Foreglen man said if it hadn’t been for another man who he said threw himself on top of Ronan, the situation could have been even worse.

“That fella tried to save Ronan, and I believe he got hit as well, so we are very, very thankful to him. He saved Ronan’s life,” said Pascal. “It’s the worst thing I’ve ever been through in my life. Ronan is very quiet. He wouldn’t say boo to anyone.”

Pascal said his son, who plays football for the Foreglen, will be in hospital for a while, but is thankful he is alive. He also praised police and emergency services for their help.

“Ronan didn’t deserve this, it’ll scar him for life,” said Pascal.

Local Sinn Fein councillor in Foreglen, Sinn Fein’s Tony McCaul, condemned the assault and warned if such attacks don’t stop “someone will end up dead”.

“It has to stop,” said Colr. McCaul. “It’s going to end in tragedy otherwise, and we’ll be walking behind someone’s coffin. I would also appeal to anyone who witnessed what happened to tell the police.”

A PSNI spokesperson revealed a 35 year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with Intent and is currently assisting police with their enquiries. Police urged witnesses, or anyone with information about the assault, to contact them on 0845 600 8000, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

“The assault was reported to police at approximately 1.50am,” said the spokesperson. “It is believed that an altercation occurred between a number of people and a 22 year-old man required hospital treatment for injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening.”