A 32-YEAR- OLD motorcyclist died on St. Patrick's Day last after colliding with the rear of a jeep that was turning right into a graveyard in Easkey, an inquest at Sligo Courthouse was told.
John Lynagh from Culleens, a twin, was travelling towards Dromore West when his Suzuki motorbike was in collision with a Ford Kuga at the entrance to Roslea Cemetery around 2.30 pm. Mr. Lynagh had commenced overtaking at the time. A file was sent to the DPP arising out of the Garda investigation and he directed there be no prosecution.
The inquest heard that Mr. Lynagh died from shock and haemorrhage due to a ruptured liver and while he was a diabetic and had a relatively low blood sugar level, diabetes played no role in the fatality, said Dr. Little.
However, the Coroner, Dr. Desmond Moran said this was debatable and that the deceased many have been lightheaded. Riding a motorbike, one would need to have your wits about you, he said. There was a small amount of alcohol in the deceased's system which was below the legal limit but any alcohol can disturb reaction times, said Dr. Moran.
Des Kenny from Rathfarham, Dublin, in a deposition, said he had travelled to Easkey, where he grew up, on St. Patrick's Day and was visiting relations in the area. The next day he intended taking part in a charity cycle race in County Mayo.
Mr. Kenny recalled driving towards Easkey graveyard where he intended to visit the grave of his parents. It was a bright, dry day. He indicated to turn right, slowed down and stopped opposite the entrance. he checked his mirrors and there was nothing else on the road.
He completed his manoeuvre and entered the gates of the cemetery. There was a loud bang. Something had struck the rear right hand side of his jeep with such force that it spun and its front hit off the right hand pier of the entrance.
Mr. Kenny got out of his jeep and saw a person lying face down in the centre of the road about four to five metres from the jeep. He went over but there was no response from the man. Witness dialled 999. A car stopped and other people also gathered. CPR was performed on the motorcyclist until the ambulance arrived.
In reply to Mr. Peter Loftus, solicitor (for the Lynagh family), Mr. Kenny agreed he had a bicycle attached to the rear of his jeep. Asked if it obstructed the indicator lights, Mr. Kenny said it was a question he had asked himself but his brother who had travelled behind him that day from Carrick-on-Shannon told him that he could see the indicators.
Mr. Loftus said a 17-metre brake mark had been left by the bike on his opposite side of the road and he asked Mr. Kenny would he have not seen the bike before he began turning.
Mr. Kenny replied that his would depend on the speed of the motorbike. Witness wondered why the motorcyclist wasn't heading to the other side of him and then there would have been no need to brake.
"I didn't see any motorbike until the belt. My conscience is clear. I didn't see any motorbike," said witness.
Anthony McAndrew, in a deposition to the inquest, said he was out walking his dog around 2.30 pm with his girlfriend and they had got to the entrance of Castle Heights when he noticed a black jeep go past with a bicycle attached to the back. It wasn't going fast.
He saw a motorbike come around the corner. It too wasn't speeding. The motorbike began to overtake and "the next thing I saw was the jeep turning into the graveyard. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The bang was unbelievable. The motorcyclist landed beside the jeep."
Keith Gilroy, who lives at The Fairgreen in Easkey, attended at the scene and gave mouth to mouth to the motorcyclist while another neighbour, Michael Lee Munnelly carried out chest compressions. A doctor arrived and said there was no pulse. They kept going until the paramedics arrived.
Garda Hugh McCann, a Forensic Collision Investigator told the inquest that the motorbike's right hand indicator and that of the jeep had been on at the time of the accident. If the motorbike had been travelling at 50 kph and had stayed upright it was possible no collision would have occurred.
There was insufficient evidence to suggest what speed either vehicle was travelling at, said witness.
He told Sgt. Philip Maree that the jeep was broadside at the time of impact. The damage was to the rear on the driver's side.
After the jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence, the Coroner, Dr. Moran said it had been an unfortunate accident especially on a day like St. Patrick's Day. He extended sympathy to the deceased's family particularly to his brother, Eamon.
"It's extremely difficult for a twin to lose a sibling," said Dr. Moran. Sympathy was also extended by the foreman of the jury, Gerard Mitchell and by Sgt. Philip Maree on behalf of the Garda.