THE family of a man who was shot in the face as he leaned outside his bedroom window last year will launch a website next week in a desperate bid to gather evidence on his attacker.
Robert Delaney (28), a father of two, was left almost completely brain dead after the shooting in October last year.
Today, he remains in a vegetative state in Tallaght Hospital while his family fights to bring his attacker – a man they say they know – to justice.
The family hopes that the new www.innocentvictimsofcrime.ie will not only act as a generator of evidence in this case but as a platform for other families to tell their horrific stories.
Delaney is understood to have been shot as a direct result of an altercation with the son of a prominent Dublin-based republican – a story similar to that of the late Joseph Rafferty whose shooting in April 2005 remains unsolved.
Now Delaney's girlfriend Mags Purtill, his two young daughters Megan (7) and Katie (2) and the rest of his family have to come to terms with the fact that he will never make a full recovery.
"I have my good and bad days, but I find it very, very hard with my daughter Megan," Purtill told the Sunday Tribune.
"She was so close to her daddy. They did everything together. She was fine until a couple of weeks ago and then she started crying.
"She is terrified that something will happen to me and they will come after her. She still thinks that her daddy will wake up and come home and everything will be okay again. It really, really kills me to hear the stuff that comes out of her mouth. That brings me down and down again."
Shortly after the run-in with the suspected gunman, Delaney became aware of who he was and the reality sunk in quickly.
He began to avoid going out at night and came straight home from work, all the time telling Purtill there was nothing to worry about.
At one stage he even believed things were sorted out after he spoke to the suspect's father in an effort to resolve the situation.
But then in the early morning of 22 October last, there was a knock on his front door.
When Delaney got up to investigate, he stuck his head out of his bedroom window. He was shot in the face from below and has never recovered.
With 16 shotgun pellets lodged in his head, his body is physically fit but his brain is irreparably damaged.
"He doesn't respond," said Purtill. "The doctors are saying that he is 99% brain damaged and has the minimum amount of awareness.
"They just don't expect it to get any better for us. He is having epileptic seizures and they have to change his medication."
Now Purtill's days are a continuous cycle of dropping her children to school and visiting the hospital where she helps wash, shave and feed her unconscious boyfriend. "We are trying to do everything because he was always so proud and looked after himself," she said.
Delaney's father Terry has welcomed Sinn Féin's efforts to distance itself from the savage attack – Gerry Adams has visited Delaney in hospital – but the family is determined to secure the evidence necessary to bring charges against the man it is certain is responsible for the shooting.
"[The website] is to demonstrate to the other people concerned that we don't intend to give up on this fight," he said.
"Almost a year has elapsed at this stage so I suppose the people behind this might be in something of a comfort zone. We don't intend to give up."