Taxi driver to plead guilty to charges over fatal Cork hit-and-run

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Martin Lawlor (49) died in incident on December 15th 2018

A 74 year old taxi driver will be pleading guilty to four charges arising out of a a fatal hit and run in which a consultant psychiatrist died, lawyers for the accused told a court on Monday.

Denis McSweeney from Pouladuff Road, Ballyphehane in Cork is charged with four charges relating to a road traffic collision which claimed the life of consultant psychiatrist, Dr Martin Lawlor (49) on December 15th 2018.

Mr McSweeney is charged with failing to give appropriate information to gardaí, failing to keep the vehicle at or near the occurrence, failing to report an occurrence and failing to stop his vehicle after an occurrence.

All four charges relate to an incident on the Airport Road in Cork in the early hours of December 15th 2018 in which Dr Lawlor died as he walked back to his hotel at the airport following a night socialising in Cork city.


On Monday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court when the case was called, Mr McSweeney's barrister, Donal O'Sullivan BL confirmed that his client would affirm a signed plea of guilty made in Cork District Court to all four charges.

Judge Sean O Donnabhain noted Mr O'Sullivan's submission and he adjourned the case against Mr McSweeney for finalisation at Cork Circuit Criminal Court on October 20th next.

Mr McSweeney was charged with the four offences when he appeared at Cork District Court in May and Det Garda Brid Norris said he replied “guilty” to the first two charges and made no reply to the other two when he was charged.

Last October at the South Cork Coroner's Court, Inspector Ronan Kennelly told the inquest into the death of the father of three that gardaí had compiled a detailed file on the hit-and-run.

Coroner for South Cork, Frank O’Connell heard evidence from Det Garda Brid Norris that Dr Lawlor was walking up the Airport Road in Cork some time after 5am on December 15th 2018 when he was hit by a car.

She told the inquest that gardaí received a phone call at 5.41am on December 15th to report that there was a body on the Airport Road between Forge Hill and the entrance to the airport and gardaí responded immediately.

Garda Jeremy O'Leary arrived at the scene at 5.45am and found the body of a man and he found a wallet containing a driving licence which confirmed he was Dr Martin Lawlor with an address at Claramore, Millstreet, Co Cork.

Dr Lawlor was pronounced dead at the scene and his body was removed to Cork University Hospital where Deputy State Pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis carried out a post-mortem examination the following day.

Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster presented Dr Curtis's findings at the inquest and told the court that Dr Lawlor had suffered multiple catastrophic injuries which would have proved instantly fatal.

She said that toxicology tests showed that Dr Lawlor had a blood alcohol concentration of 156mgs of alcohol per 100mls of blood and that the cause of death was multiple injuries consistent with a pedestrian being struck by a car.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times