by Stephen Mahon
An Irish senator who sustained serious head injuries at the weekend remains in a critical condition.
Senator Jimmy Harte was found unconscious in South Dublin at around 4am on Saturday morning. Gardai at Kevin Street have been studying CCTV footage from around that time, and it remains unclear whether the Donegal politician was attacked or had an accidental fall. His coat and mobile phone were not with him when he was found, leading Gardai to believe that the Labour Senator had been the victim of a robbery.
However, speaking today, Gardai confirmed that the items had been left at a bar where Harte had been watching the Ireland v Latvia match in Dawson Street, in the south of the city on Friday evening. “It looks like an accident, but until we have thoroughly examined the CCTV footage from around that time, we cannot say for certain,” said Chief Superintendent Michael O’Sullvan. “We would also still appeal for any witnesses who were in the area at around that time to come forward.”
Doctors at Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital say the next 24 hours will be crucial for the 55 year old. Harte suffered a fractured skull, a massive blood clot and a brain injury in the incident at Newmarket Square, Dublin in the early hours of Saturday morning. He was rushed to St James Hospital before being transferred to the specialist head injury unit at Beaumont Hospital. He remains in a medically induced coma. It has also emerged that the Donegal Senator had underlying health issues linked to a heart condition and had collapsed a number of times previously.
Harte joined the Irish Labour party in 2010 and contested the 2011 general election in Donegal North East. He failed to gain a seat, coming fourth in the three-seat constituency.
Later that year he was elected to the Seanad Industrial and Commercial Panel, one of five vocational panels which together elect 43 members of Senad Eireann, the upper house of the Oireachtas.