That was the message going out this week from the Emerald Isle Immigration Center following the death of Westmeath man Darren O’Donnell who suffered ultimately fatal injuries after being attacked in a Staten Island park.
O’Donnell, who was undocumented, worked in construction and had friends in the New York GAA, did not report the incident to police and did not seek immediate medical treatment for his injuries.
Meanwhile, after the Echo first reported the tragic death last week, the Richmond County District Attorney’s office, which covers Staten Island, has indicated its intent to mount an investigation into the 32-year-old’s death.
O’Donnell, who was described by one woman in Athlone who knows the family well as being quiet and not the kind of person to make a big deal of things, died from his injuries in Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan on May 16 after being transferred to the top medical facility from Richmond University Hospital on Staten Island.
“The family is hugely popular here in Athlone,” the woman said.
O’Donnell was interred after a funeral in St. Mary’s Church in the town.
The office of the Medical Examiner for the City of New York told the Echo this week that more details on the precise cause of O’Donnell’s death would be available in a few days.
“Over the years we have worked to get the message out that undocumented immigrants should not be afraid of seeking help from the police or emergency medical services,” Siobhan Dennehy, executive director of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center in Queens said.
Dennehy said that in the light of the tragic death of Darren O’Donnell it was more important than ever that the message reach every single undocumented Irish immigrant in New York City.
Under regulations introduced by the Koch administration, the undocumented and illegal can avail of city emergency services including the NYPD, without fear of having to reveal their immigration status.