Fair City cop hails 'miracle' after being told he had 'just months to live'

Fair City cop hails 'miracle' after being told he had 'just months to live'

Fair City actor Tommy O'Neil who portrays Detective John Deegan on the soap has spoken about his "miracle recovery" after being diagnosed with stage four cancer.

Tommy, who lives in Gorey, Co. Wexford, was told that he had just 18 months to live following his diagnosis in 2021.

Speaking to the Irish Mirror, the 69-year old said: “I tell ya, I was very sick.... I've been an actor a long time. And I went on stage feeling like sh** and [with] all kind of different ailments."

He continued: "That sickness, I’ll never forget it. It is a horrible feeling. You are on the floor and thinking, ‘holy sh**, what is going on with me?'"


Having been initially diagnosed with prostate cancer ten years ago, Tommy's cancer then spread to his bones, lymph nodes and liver.

With prospects looking increasingly grim, Tommy says he turned to his medical team and god: "I’m not one of these holy Joes, don’t get me wrong, but that is what I do and I've been doing it for 40 years. I just hand my life over and say ‘OK you are the boss, you look after me'."

After one year of chemotherapy, which wrapped up in April, Tommy now feels better every day and has since returned to the Fair City set.

Tommy also used his inspiring journey to chat about the legalisation of cannabis oil, something he believes aided his recovery.


Throughout his recovery, Tommy imported a cannabis oil product from the Netherlands, which was often confiscated by customs.

An ardent supporter of legalisation for those in a similar situation as his, Tommy even wrote to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly in a bid to relax laws around the product.

"[It's] is f***ing disgraceful if you don’t mind me saying so, but it is. It should be f***ing legal. And it is, I found out it was legal, so I contacted (Health Minister) Stephen Donnelly.

"I don’t want to be breaking the law. But I’ll tell you out straight, I will keep doing it - well not now, because I can’t get it, they keep confiscating it.”


Tommy will reprise his role as Detective John Deegan as he retires from the force in the coming weeks on RTÉ 1's Fair City.

Image Credit: RTÉ