A family has spoken of what they have described as “living hell” after a brutal attack in Australia two years ago left David Keohane wheelchair-bound with severe brain damage.

David’s sister Carol said the family are hopeful that he will be able to achieve some quality of life in the future, despite the huge recovery that lays ahead of him.

The Cork man was walking home from a bar in the early hours of August 9, 2008 when he was attacked in the beach-side neighborhood of Cogee.

He has hit on the head around 14 times and was left lying in the street, less than 100m from his doorway.

Carol read a victim impact statement to a Sydney court recently, on behalf of her family, during the sentencing hearing for one of David’s attackers.

His sister described seeing "such a fit and active young man travel back (home to Cork) unconscious with no control over his body and no awareness he was even leaving Australia."

The court heard that David, who worked as a flooring contractor had hoped to build a new life for himself in Australia, but that all changed after he was "left for dead at the side of the road."

Co-defendant Kane Tupuolamoui pleaded guilty in November to both robbery and inflicting grievous bodily harm.

After the frenzied attack, the Cork man remained unconscious for 218 days and had to re-learn how to use his hands, eat, walk and wash, the court heard. His recovery was disrupted in January when he had a life-threatening seizure. He remains in hospital and his doctors are unable to say what quality of life he will have.

"Today David cried as he asked us what happened to him. It broke our hearts to have to explain all over again that he was attacked by two strangers on a night out," she said.

"We would not have survived these times that you could only describe as hell, without the support and prayers from people we didn’t know."

Last May, Thomas Isaako was sentences to a minimum of 14 years in prison for the attack.

Tupuolamoui’s sentencing hearing was adjourned to July 15.