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Friday 21 July 2017

Hit-and-run boy's family search for peace 15 years on

Grainne Cunningham

Judy and Patrick Coffey and daughter Caitriona at Paraic's grave. RTE

THE FAMILY of a teenager killed in a hit-and-run will today make a heartfelt appeal to anyone with any information on the accident to come forward and help them find some peace.

Gardai believe someone in the tightknit rural community of the Rathcairn Gaeltacht in Co Meath holds the key to the unsolved death of 18-year-old Paraic Coffey almost 15 years ago.

Paraic's parents Patrick and Judy Coffey will describe the terrible toll their young son's unsolved death has taken on the family in an interview on the 'Crimecall' programme at 10.15 tonight on RTE 1.

Paraic was on his way home from the local disco in nearby Athboy just after 3am on June 9, 1996 when he was struck by an unidentified car.

Every day, the Coffeys pass the spot on the Athboy to Dunderry Road where he lay until a young couple, passing in their car, stopped and found him at 3.15am.

Today the spot where Paraic died is marked by a small stone memorial.

His father recalls that Sunday as the worst day of his life.

Paraic's elder brothers Sean and Gerard and his sister Caitriona were in America and Patrick had to call them and tell them their brother was dead.

"They came home that Sunday night. That was the worst day of my life I think, you know. Two, three of them to come in there and their brother laid out then in a coffin."

Loss

Their youngest son Cormac felt the loss particularly keenly as he was close in age to Paraic and the pair were more like twins than brothers.

His mother Judy said the fact that he was gone forever hit her about six weeks after he died.

"It was about six weeks after he was buried that I was coming up the corridor on a beautiful day like this and I just said, 'Just imagine, he'll never come up this corridor again," she said.

Paraic's sister Caitriona said all through her wedding day she could only think about how Paraic was missing it.

Judy believes if the family knew what happened on that night, it would help them to get some peace despite the awful loss.

"I still think if we could get closure I think that Patrick and I and the rest of the family could move on," she said.

'Crimecall' producer Nuala Carr said she hoped the programme would get people talking, particularly those living in the local area.

Irish Independent

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