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‘Heartbroken’ Cork mother pleads for help to bring son home from Greece to die

A mother has issued a plea for help to bring her son home to Ireland from Greece after he had a stroke while swimming which has left him in a persistent vegetative state with no likelihood of improvement.

Jonathan Tobin (Jiles) of Youghal, Co Cork has been an inpatient at Heraklion University Hospital in Greece since the accident occurred on the island of Crete on July 29 last. He had been living in Crete for a year prior to the tragedy occurring.

His mother Mags Tobin said she received a phone call on July 30 last where she was informed that her son Jonathan, 41, had been found floating face down in water.

“Seemingly he was there for about 12 minutes and there was a child (saw him) and told his dad and they dragged him out and gave him CPR on the beach for 20 minutes until the ambulance came.

They brought him to the local hospital which didn’t have the facilities for him so they drove him to the University Hospital in Heraklion.

“Nobody saw him going in to the water. The beach was packed. They thought he was snorkelling actually.

He was on life support for six weeks. They did brain scans and MRIs and at the moment there is no brain activity. He is out of ICU. He is in a ward.

She told the Neil Prendeville Show, on Cork’s Red FM“We went over for 12 days when it happened and we went over again getting back yesterday. We have to get him home.”

Ms Tobin says Jonathan can open and blink in one eye and is able to move his mouth a little. She has talked to him for hours and hours “with no recognition.”

Ms Tobin said Jonathan went to live in England for four or five years prior to his move to Greece. He lived at home in Cork during the pandemic.

“He decided to go to Crete and live over there. He was a plasterer. He was a great snooker player. He won the Munster championships a few years ago. He was great. Very friendly. Now looking at him it is heartbreaking.”

Mags said doctors believe that Jonathan got a stroke in the water.

“His mouth is a little lopsided so we think it was a stroke.”

The aim of a Go Fund Me which has been set up by his family is to raise the much-needed funds to fly Jonathan home to Ireland by Air Ambulance, accompanied by a doctor to a hospital in Cork.

Mags said that Jonathan will never be rehabilitated. However, she would like him to die in Ireland surrounded by his loving family.

“He is skin and bone. They are feeding him liquid food through his nose. We have a TD working for us and we are hoping to get him into CUH. We have discussed (turning off his machine) but they said they can’t (in Greece) because his heart is still beating. There is no (chance of improvement).

We think the appeal needs to go viral, but I don’t know anything about things like that. You wouldn’t know how easy it would be for us to get him home. We don’t think he will have much time left but for the time he has left (we want him home).

Mags is afraid that Jonathan’s time will run out before she has the chance to bring him home.

“That is what we are afraid of. He is there (injured) nine and a half weeks now. We just want him home here. We don’t want him to die over there on his own. We want people to donate anything they can get him home as soon as possible.”

Donations can be made to


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