A Tralee motorist was banned from driving for four years yesterday for careless driving causing the death of a retired nurse who was described in loving terms as the anchor of her extended family.
Lisa Quirke, aged 33, of 16 Shanakill, Tralee, Co Kerry, was also fined €500 at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, having pleaded guilty to the charge of careless driving causing the death of Dymphne Mangan, aged 73, at Inchinlinane, Macroom, Co Cork, in May 2016.
Garda Kieran Calnan of Crookstown Garda Station responded to a call of a traffic accident at 6.45pm on May 7. It occurred on the N22 approximately 5km on the Killarney side of Macroom.
It was established from eyewitness evidence that when Quirke’s car came around the sweeping bend it was already out of control, even though it was not travelling at a speed in excess of the limit.
Garda Calnan said a public service vehicle inspector found that her car was not roadworthy because the thread on the inside third of each back tyre was worn to below the legal standard.
Donal O’Sullivan, defending, said: “Essentially, she came around the bend and crossed over on to the wrong side of the road.”
She expressed her remorse and apologised through her counsel.
Judge Brian O’Callaghan said: “The best handle this court can get on this accident is that it was caused by a momentary lapse of concentration by the accused.”
He fined her €500 and disqualified her from driving for four years.
“That may appear low is not in any way minimising what happened to everybody,” the judge said.
Quirke was seriously injured as were Dymphne and her sister Veronica Mangan. Dymphne died in hospital two days later.
Mr O’Sullivan said Quirke was hospitalised for a number of months following the fatal incident.
Veronica Mangan delivered a victim impact statement on behalf of the family of the deceased.
“Let me introduce you to my sister Dymphne. A true lady who was 73 years old and enjoying her life to the full. She had, only two days previous, received a clean bill of health from her consultant.
“Dymphne enjoyed her single life. She lived in her beautiful home on the grounds of the family farm in Tooracurra.
“She unselfishly combined her profession as a public health nurse with caring for our parents until their deaths and indeed the whole family circle. Dymphne’s home became a place that we all called home.
“I would say that Dymphne was the anchor in our family. She was sister, friend, nurse, confidant and powerhouse of prayer for her siblings and all the extended family. She was first on the doorstep when anyone needed help.
“The first word from her lips was always ‘yes’ regardless of the circumstances in her own life. This ‘yes’ was not confined just to her family, which was evidenced by the outpouring of sympathy during her funeral, with more than 2,000 people queuing for hours on a country lane to say thank you and farewell.
“I am so aware that the accident on May 7, 2016, has not only cost Dymphne her life, changed my life and the life of my siblings and extended family forever, it has also changed the life of Lisa and her family.
“There are no winners in this. Both sides have lost and suffered a great deal. We all have to live with the consequences and pain it has left in our hearts and minds.
“While we as a family are aware that it is not our gift to give, we do not wish to see Lisa serve a custodial sentence. She is the mother of two children and suffered her own life-changing injuries as a result of this fatal car crash.
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