Tuesday 16 July 2019

Tributes paid to racing champion killed in Donegal Rally crash

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin expressed his sadness at the loss of Manus Kelly who had recently been elected as a local government councillor

A racer has died following a crash at the Donegal Rally (Niall Carson/PA)
A racer has died following a crash at the Donegal Rally (Niall Carson/PA)

By Rebecca Black, Press Association

Tributes have been paid to a racing champion who was killed in a crash while competing in the Donegal Rally.

Manus Kelly, a father of five, was fatally injured when he was involved in a single car crash.

His navigator, a man aged in his 30s, was injured and was rushed to Letterkenny University Hospital. His injuries are not believed to be life threatening.

The incident happened at around 12.30pm on Sunday, the final day of the three-day event at the Fanad Head loop section of the course.

Mr Kelly was a local government councillor in Donegal for Fianna Fail.

He was widely respected and loved by all of the rally community here in Ireland. Micheal Martin

Party leader Micheal Martin has expressed his sadness at Mr Kelly’s death, offering his condolences to his wife, five children and wider family.

“As three time consecutive and reigning champion of the Donegal International Rally, Manus’s racing talent was limitless,” he said.

“He was widely respected and loved by all of the rally community here in Ireland.

“Manus had just embarked on a promising career in local politics having recently been elected to Donegal County Council representing the Fianna Fail party.

23 June 2019 16:00 It is with regret that Motorsport Ireland and Donegal Motor Club announce that a fatality has...

Posted by Motorsport Ireland on Sunday, June 23, 2019

“It was obvious throughout his recent election campaign that he was passionate and entirely committed to serving the people of the Letterkenny electoral area which he cherished.

“Manus made a huge contribution to his community.

“As a self-employed businessman, he employed 60 people in Letterkenny. He was an active fundraiser and advocate for the Letterkenny University Hospital. He had great commitment to the GAA and managed his local club, Glenswilly to Junior B success in 2016.

“He will be sorely missed by his family, friends and all those closest to him. My thoughts this evening also remain with Manus’s co-driver and loyal colleague, Donal Barrett. Manus’s death is an immeasurable loss to us all.

A Garda spokesman said officers are investigating the incident.

“At approximately 12.20pm a competitor in the rally, male 40s, was fatally injured when his car was involved in a single car crash during a stage of the event in Fanad,” he said.

“His navigator (male 30s) injured in the crash was taken by Ambulance to Letterkenny University Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

“The matter is under investigation and the local Coroner has been notified.

“The deceased has since been removed to the mortuary at Letterkenny UH.

“A file will be prepared for the Coroner.”

In a statement, Motorsport Ireland said Donegal Motor Club is liaising with the family of the competitor involved.

“It is with regret that Motorsport Ireland and Donegal Motor Club announce that a fatality has occurred during the final day of the 2019 Donegal International Rally on Sunday 23rd June. The Donegal Motor Club are liaising with the family of the competitor involved,” a spokesman said.

“The three day annual event takes place in June each year and attracts large numbers of spectators and in excess of 200 competitors took part in this years’ event.

“The relevant authorities have begun a full investigation into the incident and will be assisted by Motorsport Ireland and Donegal Motor Club. Motorsport Ireland and its affiliated clubs are recognised internationally for operating to the highest standards of motorsport safety for competitors and spectators in line with the best practice of the FIA.

“The entire motorsport community extends its fullest sympathy to the family of the bereaved. More information may be released later.”

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