A call has been made for young people to learn from the tragedy of the Inishowen road crash that killed eight men after Buncrana man Shaun Kelly was jailed for two years for causing the deaths in the State’s worst road crash.
Kelly was the sole survivor in a collision that happened between Clonmany and Buncrana in July 2010.
Kelly was sentenced at Letterkenny Circuit Court after he admitted causing the eight deaths by dangerous driving. The collision occurred after he and friends had been watching the World Cup final.
Families of the some of the victims called on Judge John O’Hagan not to jail Kelly.
Seven of the dead were travelling in the Volkswagen Passat driven by Kelly and were all known to him. The eighth victim was driving in the opposite direction when his car was struck by Kelly’s which had spun out of control.
None of the passengers in Kelly’s car were wearing seat belts and eyewitnesses described seeing the car drive off at speed from Clonmany with the tyres spinning,
The court heard Kelly had a previous conviction for dangerous driving from 2007.
Retired Inishowen garda and former community worker PJ Hallinan said young people in the county need to learn from the tragedy so that the lives were not lost in vain.
“Hopefully something can be learnt from it. These things are terrible but if young people could learn from it, it would be a great thing and the lives lost would not be in vain,” he said.
‘Relief in the community’
A retired garda of 50-year’s service, he said there was relief in the community that the sentencing had brought court proceedings to an end.
“The community are starting to move on but they are moving on with the families. There is an understanding in the community of where these people are at.”
The victims of the accident were: Hugh Friel 66, Eamonn McDaid, 22; Mark McLaughlin, 21; Paul Doherty, 19; Ciaran Sweeney 19; PJ McLaughlin, 21; James McEleney, 23, of Meenaduff, Clonmany and Damien McLaughlin, 21, of Umricam, Buncrana.