Paudie O’Leary hit-and-run: Brother hopes killer driver will come forward
THE brother of a man who was killed in a hit-and-run collision feels no ill will towards the driver who fled the scene.
Sean Og O'Leary said he hoped the person responsible for the death of his brother Paud (42) would come forward so his parents and sister-in-law could have closure on the tragedy.
Mr O'Leary was speaking after completing the Ring of Kerry Cycle in place of his brother, who had been training for the 180km charity event when he was struck by a charcoal grey Toyota Land Cruiser at Scrahanfadda, Gneeveguilla, Co Kerry, on July 1.
A minute's silence was observed for the father of four from Bridgeview, Leam, Gneeveguilla, by the 8,200 cyclists who took part in Saturday's race, which was dedicated to his memory.
Meanwhile, a garda hunt to find the driver of the Land Cruiser has intensified but so far the person's identity remains unknown.
In a remarkable gesture of compassion, Mr O'Leary spoke in forgiving tones of the person who fled the scene.
"All I'd say to them is accidents can happen to anyone but it would be great for the family, especially Maggie (Paud's wife), and mom and dad and Paud and Maggie's children to be able to close the door on it," Mr O'Leary told the Irish Independent.
Paud had intended to complete the gruelling challenge in aid of the Kerry Stars Special Olympics team.
"I did the race with one of Paud's best friends, Paudie Keane. We did it together and we did it for him," he said.
Mr O'Leary was cheered on by family members and friends, some of whom wore T-shirts bearing a picture of his late brother and the words "In memory of Paud O'Leary".
Gardai believe the person was driving from the Killarney direction heading to Gneeveguilla, possibly returning from a night of socialising in the early hours of Sunday.
They also Gardai say the Land Cruiser would have been significantly damaged on its front right-hand side, noticeably to the bumper and lights.
"We are continuing the investigation at an intense pace but we just can't push it over the line yet," Inspector Gerry Lacey said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Kanturk garda station at 029-20680, the garda confidential telephone line at 1800 666 111 or any garda station.