Suspended Prison Term For Truck Driver Who Admitted To Careless Driving Causing Fatal Crash

A West Clare man is to avoid serving jail time despite the Court of Appeal finding that a fine handed to him for careless driving, which led to the death of a three-year-old girl, was too leniant.

64 year old Senan O’Flaherty of Lower Gowerhass, Cooraclare, has now been given a sixteen month suspended jail term in respect of a crash on March 15th, 2017 on the N85 between Inagh and Ennistymon, which claimed the life of three-year-old Estlin Wall, and saw her father Vincent sustain serious injuries.

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Before the Circuit Criminal Court, in November 2019, Senan O’Flaherty pleaded guilty to careless driving causing the death of three year old Estlin Wall, and careless driving causing bodily harm to her father Vincent.

The truck driver was handed two €750 fines last year, with Judge Gerald Keys saying he had a “low culpability” in causing the accident.

The judge noted that Mr. O’Flaherty had expressed remorse, that there was no speed and no alcohol concerning the accident and that he had pleaded guilty.

The sentence was appealed by the DPP who argued it was unduly leniant.

Yesterday, following a hearing, the Court of Appeal imposed a sixteen month jail term, which is to be suspended for two years provided that Mr. O’Flaherty be of good behaviour.

He has already paid the €1,500 fine, and the four-year driving ban handed down in the Circuit Criminal Court ruling remains in place.