Maeve Kelly with Clara paramedic Brendan Clerkin.

Jersey ‘thank you’ for Clara paramedic

A Clara-based paramedic was honoured with a special presentation by an Athlone woman who credits him with saving her life after a horrific traffic accident in 2016.

Maeve Kelly was on her way from her home in Knockroghery to Roscommon town at 11.20pm on March 20, 2016 to collect her 16-year old daughter, Katie, from the cinema when a car suddenly swerved into oncoming traffic and collided head on with her car.

Maeve, who was accompanied by her 15-year old daughter, Abbie, received catastrophic injuries in the collision, including a broken neck, a fractured back, a shattered femur, tibia and left knee and a traumatic brain injury.

Four years later, and still in recovery from the after effects of that fateful night, the mother of three daughters and two grandchildren says she is “very, very lucky to be alive.” However, she admits that she has had to adjust to “a whole new normal” as she is now a “completely different person” since her accident.

“I was put into an induced coma in hospital as I had a bleed on the brain and can only remember two things about being in the hospital, one of which was a priest saying prayers over me and the other was a paramedic telling me he had attended to me at the scene of the accident.”

The paramedic was Brendan Clerkin, a member of the Athlone ambulance service, who lives in Clara, and who is a native of Scotstown in county Monaghan.

“The paramedic often came into my head and I really feel if it wasn’t for his work on the night of the accident I might not be here, so I wanted to do something to repay him,” says Maeve.

When she heard he was a sports fanatic, Maeve Kelly set about organising to purchase a jersey for Brendan Clerkin’s home club of Scotstown and have it signed by the senior players from the Scotstown squad.

She contacted the Chair of Monaghan GAA County Board, Michael Eoin McMahon, who executed the entire plan and posted the signed jersey to Maeve at her home in Athlone.

“I then went down to the Athlone Ambulance Service HQ to present the signed jersey to Brendan on Monday of last week and the next day I went up to Scotstown to meet his parents, Rita and Seamus, and to present them with a photograph of the presentation which now has pride of place in the GAA Clubhouse,” says Maeve.

Brendan Clerkin is the U-12’s Manager of Clara Town FC, and the cllub paid a touching tribute to him on their Facebook page this week and spoke of how proud they were of his actions on the night of Maeve Kelly’s devastating accident. “No doubt if you talked to Brendan, he would say it’s just all part of the job….but we would like to say well done,” said the club in their post.

Maeve had no idea that her small gesture would become such big news and says she was “absolutely delighted” to be able to repay Brendan Clerkin in some small way for saving her life, and that of her daughter, Abbie.

Since her accident, Maeve Kelly has had to move back to Athlone to be close to her parents, Tommy and Rena Kelly from Cartrontroy, who have been a great source of ongoing support, as are her wider family. Her oldest daughter, Savannah, has two children, Mia (8) and Logan (2) and Maeve is delighted to have been given a second chance at life to enjoy her grandchildren.

“I still have many medical issues and will have for the rest of my life, and so has Abbie, but thank God we are both alive,” she says.

More from this Topic