herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Mum to push TDs for jail crackdown on drunk drivers

A MOTHER who lost her son in an horrific collision five years ago is to take her campaign for mandatory drink-driving penalties to the Dail.

Christina Donnelly vowed that she will not rest until the State does everything possible to ensure no other parent endures the agony she has suffered since her son, Brendan (24), was killed in a collision outside Castlemartyr in Cork on October 26, 2009.

Christina 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 to remind herself of the wonderful son she lost.

The Waterford mother will now visit the Dail later this month with Independent TD John Halligan to plead for mandatory sentences for those convicted of fatal accidents while over the drink-driving limit.

"I don't want any mother or father to go through the hell that we have endured since that awful day in October 2009," she said.

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

Mr Salkeld left a five-month-old daughter.

Deaths

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

Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard that the father-of-two had been drinking since 3pm the previous day before attending a pub fancy dress party.

The court was told he was driving "like a bat out of hell" when the fatal collision occurred. He had 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 Volkswagen Polo carrying the victims and their two partners, Laura Connolly and Kate Flynn, on the main Waterford-Cork road.

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

Ms Donnelly now wants the Dail to sanction mandatory sentences of between six and nine years for those involved in fatal accidents while drink-driving.

hnews@herald.ie

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