A 19-year-old Slovakian man has appeared in court charged with the dangerous driving causing the death of GAA coach Eugene McNamara.
At a special sitting of Ennis District Court on Saturday, Rene Miko, of Place de Plouzane, Kilrush, Co Clare, was also charged with unlawfully taking a 02 WW registered car on the same date, October 26, in Ennis.
A young brother of double All-Ireland winning Clare hurler Stephen McNamara, Eugene McNamara, 42, lost his life as a result of the incident when he was walking along a footpath just after 10pm on October 26, 2016, at the McDonalds roundabout in Ennis.
In court, Garda Alan Ryan gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution and told the court Mr Miko made no comment when charged with dangerous driving causing death.
Garda Ryan said in response to the unlawful taking charge, Mr Miko replied: “I never stole it.”
In court, Insp Tom Kennedy said gardai were objecting to bail due to fears that Mr Miko is a flight risk.
Insp Kennedy told the court the dangerous driving causing death charge “is a very serious charge”.
Insp Kennedy also stated Mr Miko’s passport expired in 2011 and gardaí do not have evidence that he has not applied for another passport.
Legal aid was granted as Mr Miko is not working.
Solicitor for the accused, John Casey, said his client is not a flight risk as his life is here in Ireland and has been living here with his family since Mr Miko was aged nine.
Mr Casey said Mr Miko has not left Ireland since arriving here 10 years ago and his parents and siblings were in court. Mr Casey added Mr Miko is engaged to be married and his Irish-born fiancée is expecting their baby due in January.
In sworn evidence, Mr Miko told the court: “My life is here in Ireland.
“I don’t want to leave the country. I will not be leaving the country. My fiancée is pregnant.
“I am here for a long time. Ireland is my home. I have been here since I was nine years old. I have family here. Everyone. I have no family in Slovakia. They are in Ireland.”
Mr Casey said Mr Miko has been questioned in relation to what occurred on October 26 a number of times by gardaí and arrived by appointment at Ennis Garda Station on Friday evening to be charged.
Mr Casey said his client is willing to meet any signing on conditions.
He said: “The charge before the court is very serious. We can’t go into the facts of the case today, but he is innocent until proven guilty. He is involved with his fiance and her family. Regardless of what happens at the end of the day, Ireland is his home. He is not a flight risk.”
Mr Casey said the entire Miko family moved here in 2009 because of racism and because Mr Miko’s parents wanted to come here to give their children opportunities they never had.
He said: “There is no return for them to Slovakia.”
In response, Judge Gráinne O’Neill remanded Mr Miko in custody with consent to bail.
As part of the bail conditions, Judge O’Neill said that an independent surety of €6,000 be put forward with a third to be lodged along with Mr Miko providing his own surety of €3,000 with one third to be lodged.
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