Shaun Kelly appearing at court sitting. Pic copyright North West Newspics.

Shaun Kelly appearing at court sitting. Pic copyright North West Newspics.

DONEGAL DAILY EXCLUSIVE: The Director of Public Prosecutions is to appeal the sentence handed down to Shaun Kelly, the Co Donegal man found guilty of dangerous driving causing the deaths of eight people.

Kelly was sentenced to four years imprisonment in December with the final two years of the sentence suspended.

The 26 year old truck driver had pleaded guilty to the charge last July and was sentenced by Judge John O’Hagan at Letterkenny Circuit Court in December.

Four of the families whose relatives perished in the crash at Clonmany in July, 2010 had asked Judge O’Hagan not to jail Kelly.

But passing sentence Judge O’Hagan said it was sometimes difficult to be a judge.

He said “The consequences in the community are insurmountable and it is beyond description. It is a terrible, terrible tragedy.”

He sentenced Kelly to four years, suspended the final two years and banned the accused from driving for 10 years.

However the DPP has now decided to appeal the sentence.

A representative from the DPP last week contacted Gardai to inform them of their decision.

The families whose relatives were killed in the crash have since been informed.

A spokesman for the DPP’s office said they do not comment on individual cases.

The crash on July 11th, 2010 had resulted in the biggest single loss of life in a single road accident in the history of the state.

Judge O’Hagan had asked for victim impact statements from each family.

Harrowing accounts were given by family members about how their lives had changed forever since the crash.

One man, Anthony Friel, had revealed how he had tried to take his own life after the death of his brother Hugh, 66, in the crash.

Mr Friel was driving home from bingo when he was struck by the Volkswagen Passat being driven by Kelly on his wrong side of the road.

All of Kelly’s seven passengers perished in the crash.

The men had been socialising at the High Stool Bar in Clonmany and had been watching the World Cup Final on TV but Kelly had not been drinking.

Witnesses told how they heard the screech of tyres when Kelly pulled off and drove in the direction of Buncrana fro Clonmany.

Moments later eight people were killed in the crash.

The men who died in the crash were Hugh Friel (66), Urris,Clonmany, Eamon McDaid (22) of Ballymagan, Buncrana; Mark McLaughlin, (21) of Ballinahone, Fahan; Paul Doherty (19), of Ardagh, Ballyliffin; Ciaran Sweeney (19), of Ballyliffin; PJ McLaughlin (21), of Rockstown, Burnfoot; James McEleney (23), of Meenaduff, Clonmany and Damien McLaughlin (21), of Umricam, Buncrana.

 


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