DPP to appeal sentence of man who killed eight in Donegal crash

Shaun Kelly sentenced to four years with final two years suspended

Those who died in the Clonmany crash in July 2010 (clockwise from top left) Damien McLaughlin, James McEleney, Eamon McDaid, PJ McLaughlin, Hugh Friel, Ciaran Sweeney, Paul Doherty and Mark McLaughlin.

The Director of Public Prosecutions is to appeal the sentence handed down to Shaun Kelly, the Co Donegal man found guilty of dangerous driving causing the deaths of eight people.

Kelly was sentenced to four years imprisonment in December with the final two years of the sentence suspended.

The 26-year-old truck driver had pleaded guilty to the charge last July and was sentenced by Judge John O’Hagan at Letterkenny Circuit Court.

Four of the families whose relatives died in the crash at Clonmany in July 2010 had asked Judge O’Hagan not to jail Kelly. But passing sentence the judge said it was sometimes difficult to be a judge.


He said “The consequences in the community are insurmountable and it is beyond description. It is a terrible, terrible tragedy.”

He sentenced Kelly to four years, suspended the final two years and banned him from driving for 10 years.

However, the DPP has now decided to appeal the sentence. A representative from the DPP last week contacted gardaí to inform them of their decision.

The families whose relatives were killed in the crash have since been informed. A spokesman for the DPP’s office said they do not comment on individual cases.

The crash on July 11th, 2010, had resulted in the biggest single loss of life in a single road accident in the history of the State.

Judge O’Hagan had asked for victim impact statements from each family. Harrowing accounts were given by family members about how their lives had changed forever since the crash.

One man, Anthony Friel, had revealed how he had tried to take his own life after the death of his brother Hugh (66) in the crash.

Mr Friel was driving home from bingo when he was struck by the Volkswagen Passat being driven by Kelly on his wrong side of the road.

All of Kelly’s seven passengers died in the crash. The men had been socialising at the High Stool Bar in Clonmany and had ben watching the World Cup final but Kelly had not been drinking.

Witnesses told how they heard the screech of tyres when Kelly pulled off and drove in the direction of Buncrana from Clonmany. Moments later eight people were killed in the crash.

The men who died were Hugh Friel; Eamon McDaid (22); Mark McLaughlin, (21); Paul Doherty (19); Ciaran Sweeney (19); PJ McLaughlin (21); James McEleney (23) and Damien McLaughlin (21).