Friday, September 29, 2006

Tears for brother left for dead

The Royal Hotel in Bondi where John Counihan was beaten and stomped upon on Friday. Top, John, with his girlfriend Pamela. Below, Trisha Counihan breaks down as she tries to read her plea yesterday for her brother's attackers to come forward.

Today's Sydney Morning Herald, has a front page photograph of a tearful Trisha Counihan who attended a press briefing yesterday on the attack on her brother John last weekend in Bondi, that has left him fighting for his life. My own son Michael will be released from hospital next week, three weeks after being stabbed in a mugging incident.

The Herald reports that: Trisha Counihan dabbed her tearful eyes and played with her watch. And then when it was time for her to read a statement pleading for her brother's attackers to come forward it all proved too much.

The young woman from Ireland had arrived in Australia three days before to be at the bedside of her brother John, who is critically ill in St Vincent's Hospital after being bashed at a hotel in Bondi.

Mr Counihan, 23, from (Mallow) Cork, who has been here for five months, was at the Royal Hotel last Friday. His attackers bashed him as he left the premises.

The Irish vice-consul, Louise Kelly, had to step in for Ms Counihan.

"She really wanted to read that statement," Ms Kelly said. "It was very difficult for her to hear the description of what happened. She said just before she came out, 'if it was different circumstances, it would normally be JP speaking. He was the outgoing one in the family of six'."

Ms Counihan had decided to make a personal plea for witnesses to come forward. She wanted to talk about the pain the family was going through and to tell the public about her brother, known to family and friends as JP.

A distressed Ms Counihan sat between the officer leading the investigation into the attack, Detective Sergeant Philip Carroll, and Eastern Suburbs Local Area Commander, Acting Superintendent Justin Chisholm.

While Sergeant Carroll described the attack in detail, Ms Counihan dabbed her eyes.
When it was time to read her statement, it was all too much. She began to cry and was led from the room by her Australian boyfriend, Dan, who had travelled with her from Ireland.

In Ms Counihan's statement, her brother was described as "a caring, loving and popular man" with a "great sense of humour".

The police are seeking a number of Pacific Islanders who got involved in a dispute with John in the pub earlier, over a pool game.

Michael Jnr had been returning from a cinema with a friend when he was knocked to the ground, robbed and stabbed in the back of his right thigh, which had necessiated the cutting of the other side, release of pressure above his foot and a skin graft.

Bondi Police said that the two incidents were aberrations.

The Irish Echo here in Sydney writes: Hennigan refused to speak to the Irish Echo about the ordeal, only saying that he "would rather forget about it."

Michael Jnr. forgot that his dad makes his living from the media!