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Thursday 23 November 2017

'Fitness fanatic' Donna (30) killed when hit by truck 'was planning to get married'

Devastated father Peter speaks of how his much-loved daughter 'never let him down'

Fitness fanatic Donna Fox (30) had been planning to get married to her partner
Fitness fanatic Donna Fox (30) had been planning to get married to her partner

Conor Feehan and Martin Grant

The Dublin woman killed when her bike was hit by a truck in the city centre was planning to get married to her partner.

Donna Fox (30) was remembered today as a fitness fanatic who had previously raised money on charity cycles.

She was on her way to work in a pharmacy when the tragedy happened yesterday in the North Dock/East Wall area.

The collision happened shortly before 11am at the junction between Seville Place and Guild Street.

A passing motorist jumped from her car and tried to help Donna, but her injuries were too severe to survive.

The driver of the truck - who was visibly-emotional at the scene - was brought to Beaumont Hospital as a precaution.

Today Donna’s family are trying to come to terms with the tragedy.

At his home in rural Balbriggan in north county Dublin, Donna’s father Peter spoke emotionally of his daughter, who was the second child of three children.

Donna Fox pictured with her now deceased mother Catherine
Donna Fox pictured with her now deceased mother Catherine

“She was as fit as a fiddle. She hadn’t been to a doctor since she was a child.

“Donna would drive to Whitehall in the mornings and take her bike from the boot of the car and then cycle to work near Grand Canal Dock,” said Peter.

“I asked her was it safe and she told me it was cycle lanes all the way and she was fine, then the gardai called here yesterday with the news of the accident,” he added.

“I can honestly say Donna never let me down, ever. She could turn her hand to anything.

“She could drive a digger and do carpentry and everything. She was always on the go, never quiet.

“She lived beside me here in a mobile home with her partner Anne Marie. They were planning to get married and build a house on the site. We are all just devastated,” Peter explained.

Thinking back on Donna’s life, Peter said she had a love of horses from an early age, and was a competent rider.

“She trained up the North as well, and had a jockey’s licence, but then she came back to us here and started doing different jobs.

“She worked in an Applegreen motorway services place where she became manager in the Costa Coffee outlet.

“Then she joined Holland & Barrett and worked in a number of their stores, before moving to the Meagher’s chain of pharmacies. That’s where she was going yesterday,” he added.

Peter, a taxi driver, said when the gardai arrived at the house yesterday he thought it might be because he had done something wrong.

“I wish it was something as simple as that. I never expected the news they brought, but you never do expect that sort of news do you?” He asked.

Donna’s uncle Niall said he saw her yesterday morning jogging past his house.

“She was always running and cycling. She took part in charity cycles to Galway before. She was a great girl,” he said.

Donna’s mother Catherine died from cancer in 2011 in her early 50s.

She is survived by her partner Anne Marie, father Peter, sister Leanne and brother Neil.

Gardai have appealed for witnesses.

A woman who lives close to the scene told of how she rushed to get a defibrillator on hearing of the accident.

She said she was shocked by what she saw.

“I couldn’t believe what happened, it all just happened in a matter of seconds,” she said.

“There’s a defibrillator in the local centre across the road and I shouted to the woman performing CPR that I was going to get it.

“I was running to get it, but it was just too late. I don’t think it would have helped – what happened was just too serious.”

Residents in the area where the accident took place were deeply shaken.

One woman who saw the accident was too upset to speak and broke down when she was approached by gardai.

Local people placed flowers at the scene last night.

Residents called for action to change the layout of the junction where yesterday’s accident happened.

The turn-off along Seville Place is a busy road and leads to the Port Tunnel.

Neighbours said traffic volumes in the area have increased considerably since the opening of the Samuel Beckett Bridge in 2009.

“They need to do something about the junction, it’s just a disaster,” said one woman.

“There’s three sets of lights and pedestrians don’t know where to be crossing, it really is a mess.”

The road remained closed for several hours before re-opening to traffic.

Donna’s death brings to nine the number of cyclists killed on the roads so far this year, a rate of one a month.

Last week, an 11-year-old boy died following a collision with a car while he was cycling to school outside his home town of Moate, Co Westmeath.

A 13-year-old boy who was hit by a car while cycling in Drogheda last month died from his injuries in hospital.

Independent councillor and former Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke demanded that the area of yesterday’s fatality be immediately closed to heavy goods vehicles.

“My heart goes out to the family of that poor young lady. This was a death that did not have to happen,” he said.

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