Boy’s parents hope his death may stop people drink-driving

Gillian Treacy remembers ‘beautiful child’ after driver sentenced to 7½ years in prison

Gillian and Ronan Treacy, parents of Ciarán Treacy (4) who died when the car he was travelling in was hit by another driven by Finbarr O’Rourke,  after O’Rourke was sentenced. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Gillian and Ronan Treacy, parents of Ciarán Treacy (4) who died when the car he was travelling in was hit by another driven by Finbarr O’Rourke, after O’Rourke was sentenced. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.


The parents of Ciarán Treacy are hopeful that their son’s death might prevent other families from suffering at the hands of drink-drivers.

Gillian and Ronan Treacy were speaking after Finbarr O’Rourke was sentenced to 7½ years in prison for dangerous driving causing the death of Ciarán (4) in a car crash on April 17th, 2014.

After sentencing, Ms Treacy said her family’s sentence began the day her car was hit by the drink-driver.

“Unfortunately we had to lose our little boy but hopefully this is going to put a stop to people doing this to other people. This is reality, this is what drink-driving does. Our family is destroyed, both the Ryan and Treacy family, so hopefully this stops some other people from doing this to another family,” she said.

Ms Treacy remembered Ciarán as “a beautiful child”.

“He was the light of our lives, he was the energy in our home and that has been taken from us. A lovely witty, beautiful boy that shouldn’t have been taken from us so brutally and suddenly by the actions of a drink driver,” she said.

Ms Treacy was seriously injured in the head-on crash and, despite undergoing 10 operations since, may yet lose part of her leg.

She recalled being conscious during the hour it took to cut her free from the wreckage and being aware of paramedics working on her two sons at the roadside.

She said she was “coping” but that the pain of her injuries were nothing compared with losing her son.

The Treacys thanked those who had sent messages of support since their victim impact statement was made public last week.

Ms Treacy said the statement was “from the heart”.

“It was the truth, it was the facts, 24 hours in our home that is what we are living with every minute of the day. I just hope that people will read that statement and think twice before they get into a car and drive if they are under the influence of alcohol.”

She paid tribute to the staff at Portlaoise and Tullamore hospitals who had “pulled out every stop”.

“As you know, Ciarán was allowed be with me overnight and it was a credit to Tullamore hospital for what they did, in Portlaoise, sensitivity was paramount,” Ms Treacy said.

Asked where she finds her strength, Ms Treacy replied that “it comes from Ciarán absolutely.

“He is the one that keeps us going, and our other two kids, we have to be parents to them no matter what and they give us the strength to keep going.”


However, she admitted it can be difficult when their three-year-old asks when Ciarán is coming back.

“That’s when it gets hard, you have to explain. Children don’t understand that death is permanent,” she said. “Children are children, they speak about Ciarán everyday. We include him in everything, sometimes it’s lovely because we feel he is here.”

John Browne, solicitor for the Treacy family, read a statement on their behalf which said they were “living the nightmare that every parent dreads.

“They are an ordinary hard-working family whose lives have been changed forever.”

Mr Browne said “words cannot express their anger their grief or their revulsion towards the drunk-driver who robbed Gillian and Ronan of their beloved son and Caoimhe and Seán of the brother they deserved but now will never have.”

He said “those feelings will not outweigh the love and cherished memories of Ciarán which sustain them through their darkest hours.”

“The family want to acknowledge the court’s verdict and the sentence handed down which they hope will act as a warning and a deterrent to others,” he added.

He extended the family’s thanks to fire brigade and ambulance staff, gardaí and those who prosecuted the case “for their diligence and empathy”.

“Ronan and Gillian will be forever indebted to their extended family and friends for their unstinting support, love and understanding, as well as the wider communities of Portarlington and Stradbally and the surrounding areas who contributed so generously to the ‘Bubbles for Ciarán” initiative.”

He said that Ciarán would live forever in the family’s “thoughts, prayers and kind actions” and asked that their privacy be respected at this time.