herald

Monday 20 August 2018

Mother takes safety drive to Dail

A MOTHER who lost her beloved son to an accident caused by a drunk driver will plead in the Dail for support for 'Brendan's Law' which seeks tough mandatory prison sentences.

Christina Donnelly wants a minimum six year prison sentence for drivers found over the permitted alcohol limit in fatal accidents - and for such sentences not to be reduced by suspensions or good behaviour discounts.

She wants the Irish courts to adopt a 'get tough' policy with longer license disqualifications for those who insist on drink driving and causing accidents in which people are seriously injured or killed.

Christina also wants any driver involved in a fatal collision who tests positive for being over the alcohol limit to be suspended from driving until their court case is heard.

The Waterford woman's son, Brendan (24), was killed in a collision outside Castlemartyr in Cork on October 26 2009.

The heartbroken woman still wears a lock of her son's hair - and rings his mobile just to hear his voice on his mailbox.

She also keeps his clothing around his house to remind herself of the wonderful son she lost.

Christina will now visit the Dail on Wednesday with Independent TD John Halligan to plead for mandatory sentences for those convicted of fatal accidents while over the drink driving limit.

She hopes to meet Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Opposition Justice Spokesman Niall Collins (FF).

She is convinced TDs will support 'Brendan's Law'.

"This campaign is not about bitterness or revenge. It is about protection and prevention. I don't want any parent to get that terrible knock on the door from the gardai that I got."

Brendan died alongside his friend, Lee Salkeld, when the Volkswagen Polo they were travelling in was struck by Anthony Long (29) who was drunk and driving on the wrong side of the road.

Long was jailed for five years in November 2010 for dangerous driving causing both deaths.

He served three years and seven months.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard that the father-of-two had been drinking since 3pm the previous day.

The court was told he was driving "like a bat out of hell" when the fatal collision occurred.

He consumed 11 cans and bottles of beer, seven pints of beer, two vodkas, three After-Shocks and a line of cocaine before attempting to drive home after a row with his wife.

He then drove his Ford Mondeo head-on into the car carrying the victims and their two partners on the main Waterford-Cork road.

Long of Leadington, Leamlara, Cork walked away from the scene leaving the two men dying in their car.

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