Gilford community prays for popular accident victim

Oliver Moore, left, and Ken McElroy on a billboard at the Grand Opera House in Belfast.
Oliver Moore, left, and Ken McElroy on a billboard at the Grand Opera House in Belfast.

The Gilford man injured after being struck by a car in Portadown on Saturday has sustained numerous broken bones, his friend and fellow actor has said.

Oliver Moore, who is in his 70s, is currently in the intensive care unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

A hospital spokesperson said today (Tuesday) that he is in a “critical” condition.

Long-time friend and Gilford playwright Ken McElroy said Mr Moore had sustained a broken arm and shoulder, damage to his pelvis and ankle as well as severe bruising and a deep cut across his forehead,

He added, “He is under heavy sedation and I am hoping to be able to get in to see him tomorrow. He is having some problems with his kidneys and also has a lung infection. Thankfully, the head injury is not life-threatening - it’s a very deep gash.

“A huge number of people are ringing and asking about him. He is very well-known in sporting and theatre circles and in Gilford chapel where he organises the choir.”

Mr Moore played famous Irish literary figure Brendan Behan in the play, ‘The Rare Oul’ Times’, written by Mr McElroy. It was a sell-out hit and the two local men performed in it for 15 years, touring all around Ireland and the UK.

Said Mr McElroy, “Oliver made the part of Brendan Behan his own. We performed at about 140 different venues, the last time being three years ago in the Grand Opera House in Belfast.

“He also appeared in the role at the Edinburgh Festival in 2003, The Munich Festival in 2008 and the Milwaukee Festival in 2001.

“Oliver was born in Dublin - in fact at the same hospital as Brendan Behan - and looked remarkably like him. He also has a very good singing voice, just like Behan. He got fantastic reviews.”

Father Gerry Powell, parish priest of Tullylish Parish, said prayers had been said for Mr Moore at masses on Easter Sunday and at mass in Gilford on Easter Tuesday.

He said, “We are continuing to keep him in our prayers. Recovery is going to be slow but he has a lot of very good friends in the parish who will support him.

“He is the type of man who just carries the place. He sings in the choir, he does readings and he helps prepare the church for funerals.”

Another very close friend, who didn’t want to be named, described him as “very popular”and a big sports fan.

Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed the accident, which occurred on Market Street shortly before 3pm, to contact them on 101 quoting 703 of 15/04/17.