Belfast Telegraph

Hit-and-run victim (5) still 'critical'
Fellow pupils in shock after incident.

By Paul Dykes
07 October 2004

Schoolmates of the 5-year-old girl in intensive care following a hit-and-run incident in west Belfast are today struggling to cope with her absence.

Oonagh O'Reilly is on everyone's mind at Gaelscoil na Mona primary, her principal Karen Morgan said this morning, with the "devastated" youngsters needing special attention.

Oonagh is still in a critical condition at Royal Victoria Hospital after being knocked down by a blue van as she played after school near her Monagh Drive home on Tuesday.

"A lot of the children are quite upset, so we are trying to keep things as normal as possible for the children's sake," Ms Morgan said.

"We have discussed the accident with the children, and they have been working on get well cards for Oonagh.

"We have a 'quiet corner' they go to when they feel upset.

"The children and teachers are feeling for Oonagh and her parents, and we are desperately hoping she makes a speedy recovery."

Oonagh has relatives at the school, she said, but not from her immediate family.

"We are hoping the driver of the van comes forward. There have been conflicting reports about the van."

Oonagh has survived the crucial first 24 hours in intensive care as doctors treat her head injuries, shattered ribs, pierced lungs and blood in her liver.

However, an RVH spokeswoman said Oonagh's overall condition was unchanged.

Oonagh's parents, Stephen and Veronica O'Reilly, are "utterly distraught" as they wait for signs of recovery in their child.

They said they feared their child may have suffered brain damage in the incident, and they were now living through "every parent's worst nightmare" as they waited for progress reports from medical staff.

Police investigating the hit-and-run say they have received good support from the community, and have appealed for the van driver to come forward.

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