Well-known farmer, cyclist and former RTE radio presenter, PJ Nolan says he is "lucky to be alive" after he was attacked close to his home near Navan last week as he returned from a shopping trip.
Nolan, who is from a renowned cycling family, was the victim of an unprovoked attack and was left lying unconscious on the road close to his home just outside Navan.
For the past week PJ - who is a former President of Cycling Ireland and is currently on the Olympic Council of Ireland and has monitored elections for the UN in countries such as Liberia - has suffered severe headaches and has been unable to work since the incident. He runs a large dairy herd with his brother John, also a well-known figure in local cycling circles.
A long-standing member of Navan Road Club, PJ was driving home from a shopping trip around 9pm Sunday evening, 12th May, but ended up getting knocked out by a total stranger and lying unconscious on the middle of the road.
Last Friday - and still recovering - Nolan spoke to the Meath Chronicle, revealing details about the shocking incident that turned out to be a serious threat on his life. “I was just driving home from the shops and this guy drove towards me, he was texting on his phone. I swerved into the ditch to avoid him. I stopped because my shopping bags were in the back and they had gone flying all over the place, I could hear them banging around at the back of the jeep.
PJ Nolan says he can’t work or drive since the incident.
“So I got out to have a look at my groceries to see what happened, next thing this big guy comes over and starts shouting abusively in some foreign language. Next thing I know, someone picked me up off the road sometime later,” he said. “The first person I remember talking to was my neighbour, he picked me up because I was lying on the road I could have been run over.”
His neighbour then called his brother John. “I obviously, when I was attacked, hit the back of my head on the road, I’m still concussed. I can’t work, I couldn’t drive now, I wouldn’t be able to.
“It’s very annoying when you think all you are doing is coming home from the shops on a Sunday evening after doing your weekly shopping and somebody comes along and does that to you, just some big guy shouting at you in a foreign language. Obviously it wasn’t normal behaviour, I’ve never seen that type of behaviour before,” he added. “It wasn’t confrontational, it wasn’t a traffic accident as the cars never touched.”
PJ was brought to his neighbour’s house until an ambulance arrived and he was transferred to Drogheda Hospital where he was kept for a night before he was allowed out the following day.
He subsequently stayed in a darkened room for three days and despite continuing headaches the fact that he is able to tell his tale reminds him that he is “lucky to be alive.”
“It’s scary because it’s such a random thing, maybe if I had been a woman he wouldn’t have attacked me. The thing was whoever did it just left me there on the side of the road, I was lying across the road, cars could have ran over me.
“Obviously it wasn’t a mistake, if it was a mistake the person would have waited but obviously the person meant to do as much harm as possible to me which is very annoying,” he added.
“I am lucky, I’m still here but it does make you very weary about any interaction with some people, it’s just a case of mad, road rage, totally unprovoked. It’s mad to think that I worked in warzones for the UN and survived yet you’re 300 yards from your own home and this happens to you.”
“I survived but the fellow could have killed me and it could have been anybody it’s not just about me. I would hate to think if women and children were involved. This guy was psycho when he came over to me,” he added.
“I have a headache nearly the whole time, I presume my brain has swelled so it will take a little while to settle down. I think I just need time to recover.”
Navan Gardai are investigating the incident.