March 12, 2014
Roisin pictured with her husband Stephen

Roisin pictured with her husband Stephen

A DRINK-driver who killed a pregnant Co Donegal woman in a car crash has been sent back to jail after a judge ruled an original sentence was unduly lenient.

The DPP had taken the case to the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Kevin McArdle (31), of Longfield, Carrickmacross, was given four years in prison, with the final year suspended, at Monaghan Circuit Court in October 2011 for dangerous driving causing death, was “unduly lenient”.

The 31-year-old had drunk almost three-and-a-half times the legal alcohol limit and was on the wrong side of the road when he drove his BMW headlong into a car driven by Roisin’s husband Stephen on the Carrickmacross to Ardee road on December 27, 2010.

Mr Connolly’s wife Roisin (39) and their unborn child Catherine were killed. Glen Curtis and Paul Carroll, two 27-year-old friends who were passengers in McArdle’s car, also died.

McArdle, who was released last August, was sent back to prison for a year.

Presiding judge Mr Justice Donal O’Donnell, along with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy, said it was a “very serious case of dangerous driving” which had killed three people.

The court substituted the original sentence with a sentence of six years, with the last two years suspended on the same terms as set down by the Circuit Court.

McArdle had drunk nine pints, was driving without insurance at the time of the offence and had previous convictions for drink-driving.

McArdle was led away to serve another year behind bars.

Roisin was originally from Balloor in Fanad and was born Roisin Lanagan.

She lived in Drumcondra in Dublin, had been had been returning from a visit to Fanad with her husband when the accident occurred. Her unborn child, named Catherine, died a short time later despite efforts by medical staff at the hospital to save her. She was laid to rest in Fanavolty, nine months after being married there.

Mrs Connolly had been visiting her mother Catherine who lives in Balloor and had been planning to return to Donegal for the remainder of her Christmas holidays.

The teacher was a frequent visitor to Fanad and had a large family circle in the peninsula and in Kilmacrenan. She was brought up in Fanad where she went to Doaghbeg National School before attending Loretto College in Milford. She moved to Britain in the 1980s where she attended teacher training college and she represented Manchester in the Mary from Dungloe festival in 1989.