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'We lost our daughter in crash but driver only lost his licence' - mum

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Vincent and Amy Wall outside court yesterday

Vincent and Amy Wall outside court yesterday

Vincent and Amy Wall outside court yesterday

The mother of a three-year-old girl killed in a horrific road crash said she is "very disappointed" at the sentence imposed on the man whose careless driving caused her death.

Amy Wall wept in court after the man whose careless driving caused the death of her daughter Estlin received a €1,500 fine and a driving ban.

Judge Gerald Keys imposed a fine of €750 on Senan O'Flaherty (63) for careless driving causing the death of Estlin Wall on March 15, 2017, days before her fourth birthday.

The judge also imposed a €750 fine for careless driving causing seriously bodily harm to Amy's husband and Estlin's father, Vincent Wall.

O'Flaherty had pleaded guilty to both careless driving offences. Careless driving causing death carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

The judge also imposed a mandatory four-year driving ban on O'Flaherty, a truck driver and small farmer, and said: "I'm conscious that this man cannot earn a living for at least four years."

In response, Ms Wall, from her seat in court, said: "That's how old my daughter was - four years."

Judge Keys replied: "I have set out in great detail the reasoning behind this judgment and it should be seriously considered in depth."

Speaking outside Ennis courthouse, the grieving mother said: "When you think the poor man can't work for four years - that's literally the amount of time Estlin had on Earth, so it's hard to equate the two as being fair.

"Even if they think it's a low level of culpability, the consequences are so great.

"It's hard to feel just losing your licence is enough for what we lost and what Estlin lost. We are very disappointed - it doesn't feel right for the consequences.

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Estlin Wall

Estlin Wall

Estlin Wall

Fatally

"It's hard to think of all the energy we have put into this over the last three years that have delayed the healing and grieving process and trying to move forward with our lives, that's what it culminates in - a lost licence, basically."

Judge Keys earlier said: "In these type of cases, there are no winners or losers. This is a very tragic case which I have considered for a lengthy period of time and with great difficulty."

Estlin was fatally injured in a crash moments after truck driver O'Flaherty went to pull out from behind a bus between Ennistymon and Inagh.

At around 9am on March 15, 2017, Mr Wall (41) was driving Estlin to her creche in Inagh from their home in Ennistymon, Co Clare.

Once he saw the truck - travelling in the opposite direction - perform the manoeuvre, Mr Wall's car mounted a grass verge. When he tried to move his car back onto the road, he lost control and it spun around causing the car to collide with an oncoming Skoda, two cars behind the truck driven by O'Flaherty in the line of traffic behind the bus.

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Driver Senan O’Flaherty

Driver Senan O’Flaherty

Driver Senan O’Flaherty

O'Flaherty and the Cliffs of Moher-bound bus driver ahead of him continued on their journey not realising a crash had occurred.

Mr Wall suffered a severe and significant brain injury as a result of the crash, has no recollection of the accident and was placed in an induced coma after the crash and missed Estlin's funeral.

The judge said records show the bus in front of O'Flaherty's truck was being driven erratically and that O'Flaherty's truck was too close to the bus.

However, Judge Keys said O'Flaherty's degree of culpability "is at the bottom end of the spectrum" in those circumstances.

He said O'Flaherty's driving on the day could not be described as dangerous, hence the acceptance by the DPP of the charge of careless driving.

The judge said the only aggravating factor in the case was O'Flaherty's previous conviction for careless driving in 2002.

Heavily pregnant with the couple's third child, Ms Wall added: "It's very disappointing, but we're days away from having another baby - we have a three-year-old - and there was nothing that was ever going to bring Estlin back, so that's how we're going to have to think about it in order to move forward.

"To not even get a suspended sentence, it doesn't feel right at all. And there was talk of remorse being shown which we have not seen at all."