Manus Kelly, a prominent businessman and Donegal County Councillor, has been named as the competitor killed on Sunday following a crash at the Donegal International Rally.
Kelly lost his life as a result of a horror crash as he competed in this year’s Donegal International – an event he won in each of the previous three years.
The Hyundai i20 R5 Kelly was driving left the road during special stage 15, Fanad Head, the first of six stages planned for Sunday afternoon, the final day of the three-day event.
The crash happened around 12.30pm at Baile na Brocar.
The race was halted and subsequently cancelled and an investigation has been launched by Motorsport Ireland and the Donegal Motor club.
Kelly’s co-driver Donall Barrett was taken to Letterkenny University Hospital. His injuries are not believed to be life threatening.
Aged 41, Kelly was married, to Bernie and they have five children. He is also survived by his parents, Donal and Jacqueline, and eight siblings.
Kelly was a newly-elected councillor in Donegal County Council. In last month’s election, Kelly, running as a Fianna Fáil candidate, polled 906 first preference votes.
“It was obvious throughout his recent election campaign that he was passionate and entirely committed to serving the people of the Letterkenny electoral area which he cherished,’ Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said.
“Manus made a huge contribution to his community. As a self-employed businessman, he employed 60 people in Letterkenny. He was an active fundraiser and advocate for the Letterkenny University Hospital.
“He will be sorely missed by his family, friends and all those closest to him. My thoughts this evening also remain with Manus’s co-driver and loyal colleague, Donal Barrett. Manus’s death is an immeasurable loss to us all.”
A successful businessman, Kelly was the managing director of Tailored Facility Solutions, a property management company based in Letterkenny, and also the proprietor of the popular Uptown Cafe in Letterkenny.
Kelly was a long-time motorsport enthusiast and shot to prominence in 2015 when winning the national rally at the Donegal International Rally.
“Manus was a great ambassador for our sport and for the Donegal Rally,” Clerk of the Course Eamonn McGee said.
“It’s devastating news for everyone to process. Manus was such a popular character and a great competitor.”
Kelly was deeply immersed in the Glenswilly GAA club and managed them to a Senior C Championship win in 2016.
Kelly was a club-mate of Donegal captain Michael Murphy. News of the tragedy was conveyed to the Donegal dressing room after their win over Cavan in the Ulster final and the mood was sombre as they processed the news.
A joint statement issued by the Donegal Motor Club and Motorsport Ireland said: “Donegal Motor Club and Motorsport Ireland would like to extend its sympathies to the family and friends of Manus Kelly who was fatally injured during a tragic accident while competing in the Donegal International Rally on Sunday, 23rd June 2019.
“Manus was a three-time winner of the rally and was immensely popular in the rally fraternity. Our thoughts are with his family and all affected at this time.”Tags: