A leading road safety campaigner has criticised the four year jail term given to a man convicted of the death of a Donegal woman and her unborn child.
Publican Kevin McArdle (29), Longfield, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, was handed down a four-year prison sentence with the final year suspended after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Roisin Connolly, a Dublin-based teacher who was originally from Fanad - and two passengers in the BMW he was driving.
Speaking yesterday Mary Clinton of road safety group A-Ceart, said she was disgusted by Tuesday’s verdict which she described as ridiculous. She said the sentence handed down should have been “much more severe”.
“I am gutted at the sentence. He will be out in two years. It is ridiculous for wiping out four lives. It is sending out the wrong message. Is life so unimportant today that you get three years for wiping out four lives? Justice has to be seen to be done and that is not justice.”
The Letterkenny woman said early release for good behaviour should be done away with. “If they had shown good behaviour they would not be in prison in the first place.”
Mrs Connolly had been driving back to her Dublin home with husband Stephen on December 27th, 2010, after visiting her family in Donegal. The collision occurred at 6.45pm at Moynaltybane on the main N2 Dublin-Derry Road, 2km from Carrickmacross.
The Seat Toledo the Connellys were driving in collided with McArdle’s BWM which was driving on the wrong side of the road after overtaking a number of vehicles at speed. She died later at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, in Drogheda. Despite the efforts of a team of surgeons at the hospital, her unborn baby girl, Catherine, also died.
McArdle had drunk nine pints of beer and five glasses of brandy before the crash and was three and a half times above the limit.
Sentencing McArdle at Monaghan Circuit Criminal Court, Judge John O’Hagan suspended the final year after taking into account the fact that he had voluntarily gone into custody after announcing his decision to plead guilty last May.
He was also “taking into account” charges against McArdle of drunken driving and driving without insurance, and he banned him from driving for 12 years.
Paul Carroll (27), Dunheeda, Kingscourt, Co Cavan, and Glenn Curtis (27), Dunroe, Nobber, Co Meath, who were travelling with McArdle, died at the scene.
A third passenger, Michael Tevlin of Kingscourt, Co Cavan, sustained serious injuries. A couple and their two young children were in a third car involved in the collision but escaped injury.