Jail term for dangerous driving ‘won’t turn back clock’, says judge

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Student Kieran Quigley died in the collision
A YOUNG man has been sentenced to two and a half years’ imprisonment for dangerous driving causing the death of a Leaving Cert student three years ago.

A YOUNG man has been sentenced to two and a half years’ imprisonment for dangerous driving causing the death of a Leaving Cert student three years ago.

Student Kieran Quigley, 17, from Rearcross died in hospital two days after a two car collision at Grange Cross on the N24 at around 8.45pm on June 9, 2012.

Mr Quigley, who was in the middle of his Leaving Certificate at the time, was a back-seat passenger in a Renault Megane car which collided with another vehicle.

Earlier this year, Dennis Brennan, aged 26, also of Rearcross pleaded guilty to a number of charges relating to the fatal collision, including drink-driving and driving without insurance or a licence.

The collision happened after the car being driven by Brennan, who was more than four times the legal limit applicable for unlicensed drivers, emerged from a minor road onto the main road.

“He had a very considerable quantity of alcohol taken,” said Sgt Denis Waters during a sentencing hearing adding the defendant had gone on a “drinking expedition” earlier in the day.

In a victim impact statement, Kieran’s sister, Carol Wixted, said the teenager was the “smartest, funniest, friendliest, kindest and wittiest person” she know and that it is upsetting to know he will never celebrate events such as his debs, 21st birthday, getting married or having children.

Imposing sentence, Judge Tom O’Donnell said while his death was a “colossal tragedy” it was not court’s job to seek retribution.

“I’m extremely conscious of the tragedy and I’m acutely aware that whatever sentence I impose is not going to turn back the clock or alleviate the pain, loss or hurt,” he said.

The judge said an aggravating factor was the large amount of alcohol which had been consumed by the defendant, who he said “should not have been in a car given the condition he was in at the time”.

The judge said his guilty plea was a welcome development and he noted that since the incident Brennan has taken steps to address his issues with alcohol.

He also noted the contents of a probation report, which stated the defendant was genuinely remorseful.

He imposed a four year prison sentence suspending the final 18 months. Brennan was disqualified for five years.