Gavin Duffy expresses regret over 1978 car crash

Presidential candidate Gavin Duffy has admitted he was “fully responsible” for a car crash 40 years ago that left a woman with severe injuries, after it was revealed that he was sued under a different name.

Mr Duffy confirmed his involvement last night in a formal statement after the details of the High Court case and a series of other motoring offences involving the would-be president were revealed in a Sunday newspaper.

It emerged that Mr Duffy was involved in a serious road crash involving a student motorcyclist at Dunleer, Co Louth, on August 21, 1978.

The incident, which occurred when Mr Duffy was 18 and the motorcyclist 25, happened when the motorcyclist and Mr Duffy collided while he was driving his brother’s car without insurance.

The case was settled in the High Court in 1985 when Mr Duffy admitted negligence and paid damages and compensation of £221,127 — a figure that, at the time, was multiples higher than the cost of a home.

However, despite the case receiving national media attention at the time, it was until now not linked directly to Mr Duffy as he was sued under his birth name, Liam.

In a statement last night, Mr Duffy said that, four decades on from the accident, he remains full of remorse and accepts he was “fully responsible” for what happened.

It is a moment in my life that lives vividly and painfully in my memory,” he said.

“In the subsequent court case, I was convicted of careless driving. The evidence before the court outlined how I was driving within the speed limit.

“However, I was also prosecuted for driving without insurance. I had missed my lift to work and, without permission, had taken my brother’s car.

“I believed, as I do 40 years on, I was fully responsible for the accident because I should not have been driving a car that morning.

Once again, can I repeat my regret over the incident 40 years ago. To all young drivers I would say please, please drive carefully and always legally, with insurance.

The case emerged on the same day as sitting president Michael D Higgins was forced to defend revelations that his office over-spent its photography budget by more than €100,000 last year, and news he and his wife Sabina are renting out a Galway property for €2,000 a month.

Sinn Féin candidate Liadh Ní Riada admitted she is paid €95,000 as an MEP, €60,000 of which she takes home after tax, a figure higher than previously known.

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