Mother who lost 'wonderful son' to drunk driver issues festive appeal
A mother who lost her son in a horrific accident caused by a drunk driver has issued a heartfelt Christmas road safety appeal.
Christina Donnelly revealed that her son, Brendan (24), had bought a Christmas present for her just days before he died in a head-on collision outside Cork on October 26, 2009.
"I wasn't able to open the box until a few years ago," Christina said.
"Brendan hadn't just bought the present - he had even wrapped it in Christmas paper. That's the kind of thoughtful, wonderful young man he was."
Christina has now devoted her life to getting Ireland to enact the so-called 'Brendan's Law' for tougher sentences and driving bans for drunk motorists who cause fatal accidents.
The courageous woman has campaigned for tough new road safety regulations to ensure no one else suffers the kind of tragic loss she has. The campaign demands a minimum six-year prison term for drunk drivers in fatal accidents.
It also wants longer disqualification periods for drunk drivers involved in serious collisions.
In a heartfelt plea, Christina urged motorists never to drink and drive - and to slow down and exercise care over Christmas.
"The priority for everyone should be getting home safely. That's the best Christmas present for everyone."
Christina has met Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to highlight the need for a road safety crackdown.
Not only did Christina's son Brendan lose his life in the accident, his best friend Lee Salkeld (25) also died in the head-on collision.
"I don't want any other mother or father to go through the hell that we have endured," Christina said.
"This campaign is not about bitterness or revenge. It is about protection and prevention.
"I don't want any parent to get that terrible knock on the door from the gardaí that I got.
"For years we have had information campaigns and TV adverts about people not drinking and driving. But people still insist on getting behind the wheel drunk."