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Saturday 3 December 2016

Eamon had prayed for driver who killed him, reveals grieving widow

Jane and Eamon Cronin
Jane and Eamon Cronin

A man killed by a drunk driver had prayed for the motorist a few years before the fatal accident, his widow has revealed.

Eamon Cronin (50) had prayed for the well-being of drunk driver Desmond Collopy (29) after Collopy's mother had confided in him about her troublesome son.

Mr Cronin's wife Jane revealed that her late husband and Collopy's mother had worked together.

Collopy was jailed for six and a half years on Wednesday for killing pedestrian Mr Cronin in a hit-and-run incident while he was driving dangerously and drunk on North Street, Swords, in the early hours of August 16 last year. He was banned from driving at the time.

Orders

Collopy, from Landen Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin, has 148 road traffic offences and 30 disqualification orders.

Mr Cronin, who lived in Swords, was a Permanent TSB bank official who worked in Baggot Street.

Jane Fitzsimons said on Newstalk radio yesterday that Collopy's mother worked as a cleaner in the same bank branch.

"I remember Eamon talking about her and we prayed for her son a few years ago. Eamon would come home and she would have been talking about her son to Eamon. And we prayed for him.

"It's amazing. Bizarre. I knew of this man. What are the chances of that?

"And Eamon used to come home saying, 'She's a lovely woman, a real 'salt of the earth' woman, and he'd be talking about her. She was concerned about her son and she would have been chatting to Eamon and we prayed.

"The Lord I know has a bigger plan and it's a bigger plan for Desmond Collopy.

"I just pray he takes a different path in life than what he was taking," she said during the poignant interview.

Jane said she forgives the drunken motorist.

"I forgive him absolutely. I pray for him every day. I prayed for his mam this morning because I met his mother yesterday and she's a lovely woman."

Poison

She said she does not hate the man who took her husband's life, explaining: "If I did, it would be like drinking a bottle of poison and expecting him to die."

Witnesses told the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that Collopy was showing off and jerking the steering wheel before he struck Mr Cronin, who had just crossed the road to try to break up a fight.

Collopy, who had six driving disqualification orders over him at the time, did not stop at the scene.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death. He also pleaded guilty to having no insurance, driving while disqualified, and failing to stop his car at the scene.

Pints

Collopy drank at least nine pints of lager before drinking cocktails in Swords. He continued drinking in a B&B after killing Mr Cronin.

Jane told the court her life changed forever that night. She had lost the love of her life, her best friend, her lover and her beloved husband of 19 years."It is like falling off a cliff and I was still hanging on the edge," she said.

Judge Martin Nolan described Mr Cronin as a "good Samaritan" who had earlier been trying to break up a fight.

Collopy's "actions have led to the death of a very good man," said the judge.

Collopy had up to eight pints of lager in Johnny Fox's pub in the Dublin mountains before he went to a pub in Kinsealy where he had one drink, and then drove to Wrights Cafe Bar in Swords where he had been drinking cocktails before the incident.

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