Athlone woman given fine and community service following fatal motorcycle crash

A 41 year-old learner driver from Athlone who fatally injured a motorcyclist has avoided jail.

Tracy O’Neill, who was driving unaccompanied when the crash happened, had pleaded guilty to careless driving causing the death of Kieran Kenny in August 2017.

Roscommon Circuit court heard that Mr. Kenny was an experienced motorcyclist who was taking part in a charity fundraising event on the morning of Sunday 13th August 2017.

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The 53 year-old from Monksland was travelling along the old N6 at Summerhill in Athlone shortly after 1pm when he was struck by a white SUV being driven by Tracy O’Neill as she exited a housing estate.

Mr Kenny, a married father of two adult daughters, was air lifted to University Hospital Galway where he was pronounced dead later that afternoon.

Gda Eoin Browne said it was a dry day with good visibility and a forensic analysis of the crash scene showed the point of impact was the centre of the road and that the motorcycle was travelling at a speed of 56km an hour in a 80km zone.

Tracy O’Neill, with an address at Crannagh, Summerhill, was a learner driver and the court was told that she’d been driving on a learner licence for some years. At the time of the crash she was unaccompanied in her car.

Mr Kenny’s oldest daughter Alana who read victim impact statements on behalf of her family said she never got to say goodbye to her father and he didn’t get to walk her down the aisle when she got married last year.

Her sister Carla told how her dad, who she said had “a massive heart”, had looked after their mother Helen in the months prior to his death as she recovered from cancer.

Judge Francis Comerford said the Kenny family had suffered a terrible loss and that Mr Kenny had not been to blame in any way for the accident.

He accepted that the defendant is a productive member of society who was extremely remorseful for what had occurred and had suffered health consequences as a result.

He ordered that Ms O’Neill, who had earlier pleaded guilty to careless driving causing death, undertake 90 hours community service in lieu of one year in prison and disqualified her from driving for ten years. He also ordered that she produce €1,000 at the April sitting of the court which is to be paid to a road safety charity.