Sunday 4 December 2016

'We can’t appeal to God to get Ciarán back' – Mother of boy (4) killed in car crash slams sentence reduction for drunk driver

Published 25/10/2016 | 12:55

Gillian and Ciaran Treacy
Gillian and Ciaran Treacy

The mother of a four-year-old boy who died when a drunk driver collided head-on with their vehicle has said no prison sentence will ever be long enough for the driver.

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Finbarr O’Rourke (41) had 18 months cut from his jail term following an appeal on Monday.

O'Rourke, of Laurel Drive, Portlaoise, Co Laois, had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Ciarán Treacy (4) at Ballymorris, Portarlington on April 17, 2014.

Judge Keenan Johnson originally sentenced O'Rourke to seven-and-a-half year’s imprisonment at Portlaoise Circuit Criminal Court on November 3, 2015.

Gillian's son Ciarán
Gillian's son Ciarán

Speaking today, Ciarán's mother Gillian claimed that Mr O’Rourke was made out to be the victim during the appeal.

“For a family that this has happened to, there was never going to be any sentence which was long or tough enough. It was very heart-wrenching to think he was being made out to the victim. To sit in that courtroom and listen to him being the victim, it was so wrong,” she said.

“He said he misses his children and that he is restricted in prison, well we miss our son terribly and we are never going to see him again,” she told Adrian Kennedy on 98FM.

“We don’t get the opportunity to appeal to anybody – we can’t appeal to God to get Ciaran back.” 

Mrs Treacy was also severely injured as a result of the accident and says that her life will never be the same again.

“I have life-long injuries because of Finbarr O’Rourke. The first thing I suppose is to put yourself in my shoes. The boys had spent their morning with their grandparents while I was off doing a few bits. It was April 17 2014. It was Holy Thursday, a beautiful evening.

"While we were doing all these things with our children, Finbarr O’Rourke was sitting in a pub in Portarlington,” she said.

When asked if she believed Mr O’Rourke is remorseful about what happened, she responded “No”.

“If you have time later on, just sit down and read my victim impact statement. If you are still unsure, I would invite you to spend a day in our home and I think you will understand why we don’t accept his remorsefulness.”

In her victim impact statement, Mrs Treacy detailed her own injuries, including four serious fractures, severe lacerations, and her five week stay in hospital where she had ten surgical procedures.

O’Rourke had drank between eight to ten pints of cider over a few hours on the day he drove from the pub in Portarlington.

He advised gardaí originally that he only consumed two glasses of wine.

When reading his judgement, Mr Justice Mahon said that while he had been untruthful with gardaí, it was “nevertheless in his favour” that he co-operated with them thereafter pleading guilty at a relatively early state.

He had also shown remorse which was genuine, in the court's opinion.

“Although almost insignificant in comparison to the devastating and life long trauma visited on the victims in this accident, the appellant (O'Rourke) will himself have to live with the awful guilt which undoubtedly he feels for the rest of his lifetime,” Mr Justice Mahon said.

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