‘Something has to change’ to protect women and children
Sinead Connolly with daughter Leah at her Mam’s house over Christmas

‘Something has to change’ to protect women and children

THE sister of a young mother who miraculously survived a gunman opening fire into her Bluebell flat says something has to be done to protect women and children in society.

Sinead Connolly (34), who has no connection with crime, was left paralysed from the chest down following the harrowing attack – during which her daughter Leah hid under the table at their Bernard Curtis House apartment.

Three of the nine bullets hit Sinead, and one lodged into her T3 Vertebrae, leaving her wheelchair bound, and still recovering in rehab at the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire.

At the Central Criminal Court this week, neighbour Dean McCarthy (32), of Bernard Curtis House, Bluebell, pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Ms Connolly on March 6, 2021.

McCarthy has also been charged with possession of a semi-automatic handgun with the intent to endanger life on the same date and location.

His case was adjourned to April 8 for a sentence hearing to allow for the preparation of a probation report and a victim impact statement.

Speaking to The Echo on Tuesday, Orla Connolly (Sinead’s sister), said they were relieved that Sinead won’t have to take the stand, but pleaded with authorities to protect women and children.

“Sinead has improved a lot and doing an awful lot better than she was, coming down off the medication, and it is a good outlook considering, but she has paid a heavy price,” said Orla.

“She has a life sentence herself. Something has to change to deter attacks on the most vulnerable people in society, women and children. This is not down to gardai but judges.”

In the aftermath of the terrifying attack, Orla took Leah (who was just about to celebrate her eight birthday at the time of the shooting) under her care, while doctors worked to save Sinead’s life in St James Hospital.

Sinead was able to go to her mother’s Ballyfermot home for a few days at Christmas, which was “uplifting” for the whole family.

Orla said the family got some more good news recently when Dublin City Council found Sinead and Leah an apartment to live in when she gets out of hospital.

The area in which they were living has become increasingly volatile in recent years due to crime, anti-social behaviour and intimidation.

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