A garda leading the investigation into the death of a hero soldier in a hit and run accident has again appealed t to the driver to come forward “for the sake of his grieving family.”
Eunan McDevitt, 47, died in the early hours of Saturday morning on the N15 outside Ballyshannon after being hit by a car.
Mr McDevitt was laid to rest yesterday after a military funeral, former colleagues marching ahead of his coffin as it made its way from his home to St Joseph’s Church. Speaking to the Irish Independent after the funeral Supt Leo McGinn said he hoped forensic analysis on car parts recovered from the scene of the incident will help to find the driver.
But he said: “There may be many reasons why the driver chose to leave the scene, but I would appeal to that person now to come forward for the sake of Mr McDevitt’s family. This is their opportunity to come forward.”
Mourners were forced to stand outside a packed St Joseph’s church in Ballyshannon for the funeral Mass, many of them former colleagues from Finner Camp where Mr McDevitt had worked as a chef until his retirement last year.
Lieutenant Bridget Clarke was in attendance representing the 28th Infantry Battalion Commander.
Company Sgt John O’Brien was also there representing and acting as the Battalion Sgt Major.
They heard parish priest Father Frank McManus say Mr McDevitt had served with distinction with the Defence Forces including on tours to Lebanon.
He said the dead man had been touched by tragedy on many occasions in his life, including losing his mother to cancer when he was aged just one. He had 12 older brothers and sisters, three of whom had since died. Mr McDevitt, he said, had joined the Defence Forces aged 17 and was a very intelligent man who read a lot and he was a keen follower of hurling.
“I know he would have loved Sunday’s All-Ireland final and to have watched a fellow Army man captaining the brilliant Kilkenny team to yet another victory,” he said.
“He liked to have a joke and a carry on. I heard that when he was in the Lebanon he started to call the chaplain Father Ward ‘rabbi’.
“But one day he did this in the presence of a senior officer and was reprimanded, but the priest sorted it out because it was acceptable to him that he was called rabbi, a teacher of faith,” said the parish priest. Father McManus passed his sympathies to the dead man’s widow Gabrielle, and his four children Richard, Kayleigh, Marguerite and Paul.
Mr McDevitt was laid to rest in the adjoining cemetery.
County councillor Barry O’Neill said that Ballyshannon was still in shock at Mr McDevitt’s death.
“I was chatting to him last Tuesday when the Donegal team brought the Sam Maguire cup through Ballyshannon.“Like everyone else he was in great form, enjoying a superb occasion. And here we are less than a week later laying him to rest. It’s just so sad,” he said.