Investigations under way as two killed in rally crash

Caroline Cleary

Two separate investigations have been launched after a rally car smashed through a garden fence, killing two people and seriously injuring seven others.

Gardaí and Motorsport Ireland are examining the crash, which has led to fresh calls for the sector to ensure the safety of spectators.

The incident occurred at 11.30am yesterday in the early stages of the race, near Bailieborough in Co Cavan.

It is understood the car spun out of control as it sped along two hill crests close to each other.

The driver and co-driver, who are among the injured, are believed to have lost control when the Ford Escort’s left wheels landed on a grass verge. The vehicle skidded on its side before smashing through a fence into a number of spectators.

Two people — Galway-born photographer Joe Lane and Caroline Cleary, a mother-of-one — were struck head-on by the car. Both died at the scene.

A third person is in a critical condition at Cavan General Hospital, while six others were also rushed to the facility after the crash.

The incident has led to renewed calls for safety improvements in the sport, despite many of Ireland’s tracks having higher safety standards than continental competitions.

While rally car fatalities are relatively rare in Ireland, yesterday’s tragedy follows the death of a fan in 2008 and two stewards in 2002, all in Donegal.


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