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Wednesday 16 October 2019

'Tragedy only takes a second' - mother of young woman who died on way to see her newborn

  • The inquest is out of the way now, but it's not getting any easier for us' - Nicola's mother Ann
  • Nicola's family echoes coroner's plea that every road user needs to be more aware of driver fatigue
Nicola Kenny was killed in motorway crash just one day after giving birth
Nicola Kenny was killed in motorway crash just one day after giving birth
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

The family of a young mother who was killed on her way to see her day-old baby in hospital have said every road user needs to be more aware of driver fatigue.

Nicola Kenny (26) was being driven to Dublin, with her mother Ann, by her aunt Irene on September 5, 2016.

Nicola had given birth in South Tipperary General Hospital to baby Lily Rose the day before, but the child was transferred to Temple Street.

While on the M8 motorway to Dublin at Dogstown, between the Cahir and Cashel exits, Nicola received a phone call so Irene pulled in to the hard shoulder. It was a staff member from Temple Street Hospital telling her that Lily Rose was fine and there was no need to travel to Dublin.

Moments later a truck crashed into the back of the car. Nicola was in the back seat and died at the scene. Her mother and aunt were injured.

An inquest last week found that Nicola died as a result of multiple traumatic injuries consistent with a road traffic crash and accidental death.

Tipperary coroner Paul Morris issued a plea for commercial vehicle operators to comply with tachograph safety guidelines as he stressed the tragic case underlined the appalling consequences of potential driver fatigue.

Ann Kenny echoed that call, saying "it only takes a split second for a tragedy to happen".

Nicola Kenny
Nicola Kenny

"The coroner said people need to be more aware of the dangers of driver tiredness and I agree with him.

"This is very hard on our family. I didn't go to the inquest myself. I stayed at home and looked after Lily Rose. She comes first... she is number one," Ann added.

"The inquest is out of the way now, but it's not getting any easier for us. It's something we have to live with. Lily Rose is none the wiser. Thankfully she's thriving," she said.

The driver of the truck, Ciaran McBride, from Keady, Co Armagh, was given a suspended prison sentence last year after he pleaded guilty to careless driving causing death.

The Circuit Court trial heard the tachograph on Mr McBride's lorry was found to not be working properly.

The driver had insisted to gardaí he had taken the required breaks. However, the Circuit Court heard that officers disputed the stop periods claimed as the lorry was equipped with a toll scanner.

When gardaí recreated the journey from its details, they found the trip did not match the claimed driver breaks.

Irish Independent

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