Ryanair steps in to reunite family for Christmas

Zoe and Maya Murnane

Ryanair has stepped in to reunite a mother with her twin daughters for Christmas.

The airline has this morning booked Cork mother Audrey Murnane and one of her twins, Maya, on one of its last Christmas flights from Gatwick to Cork this afternoon in a bid to ensure the family is home together for Christmas.

Audrey has spent the last week in London with her 18-month-old twins who underwent special treatment in Great Ormond Street Hospital for an airway condition.

The treatment was a success, the twins were discharged from hospital, spent a few days recovering, and the family was due to fly home from London Heathrow on Sunday evening with Aer Lingus.

But just as they were boarding the aircraft, Maya became ill and was asked to leave the aircraft amid fears her condition would deteriorate during the flight.

As a result, the travelling party was split up - Zoe returned home on the flight with family members, while Audrey had to go to a nearby hospital with Maya in the hope of catching a later flight.

But Maya spent a restless night suffering from high temperature.

Her distraught mother was facing the prospect of spending Christmas in London with Maya, away from her other daughter, unless she could arrange a 'fitness to fly' medical certificate for Maya.

She issued a desperate appeal for help through her Facebook page, Help Zoe & Maya.

Touched by their plight, Ryanair spokesman Robin Kiely, stepped in and contacted Audrey this morning, and said the airline is now satisfied that Maya is fit to fly today.

"We have booked the family on our 1.40pm Gatwick to Cork service this afternoon," he said.

"We are just happy to be able to help get them home, and we would like to wish them a happy Christmas."

Ryanair has delayed several flights from the UK this morning by up to an hour to help passengers struggling with weather delayed train services get to airports in time in catch flights home.

The airline expects to carry up to 100,000 people across its network today with flights right up to 4pm.

By Eoin English, Irish Examiner

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