TWO criminal cousins, both out on bail, were last night being hunted by gardai after they fled the scene of a crash that claimed the life of a pensioner.
Tributes have been paid to 81-year-old James Brennan, known by family and friends as Jim, from Co Wexford, who was killed in the crash. The car he was driving collided with a stolen car in Ferns, Co Wexford on Monday night.
Mr Brennan's partner, named locally as Bernadette Weafer and aged in her 50s, sustained serious injuries including a broken pelvis and eye injuries, in the incident and was operated on yesterday afternoon.
However, a family friend last night told the Irish Independent that she was expected to make a full recovery.
Two men, who are originally from Co Wicklow and are suspected of being members of an organised Traveller burglary gang, stole a Volvo S60 from the Church Gate estate in Wicklow Town after breaking into a house and taking the keys.
They then stopped at the AppleGreen Service Station in Arklow, Co Wicklow where they filled up on fuel before driving off without paying. The two men are understood to have been captured on CCTV and have since been identified by investigating officers.
The men then continued in the direction of Wexford where they smashed into Mr Brennan's car on the main N11 Road, just two hours after stealing the vehicle.
The cousins, who have both been charged with numerous offences previously, then fled the scene on foot, running through fields to make their escape.
They stole a Red Volkswagen Passat Saloon and sped away from the area. This car was later discovered by gardai at a gateway at Monageer, around 6km from the crash site.
Both vehicles were forensically examined by gardai, who are also investigating if a third vehicle, which has not been recovered, was also stolen by the men. It is also understood the men began their crime spree after they were removed from a train for abusive behaviour.
The older of the two men, aged in his 20s, has a number of serious convictions here and in the UK and is on bail for a savage assault on an innocent couple. The other man is in his late teens and has a series of minor convictions.
Mr Brennan and Ms Weafer lived in the Cherryorchard area of Enniscorthy. Last night, a neighbour of Mr Brennan's sister Sarah described him as a "nice, easy going man" who was well liked by those who knew him.
"Back years ago he would have worked for farmers. He was a very easy going man. An inoffensive man.
"His sister still lives here in Castledockrell. I was in the house this evening and they're shocked by the tragic incident."
His brother Martin passed away in June and he is survived by his two sisters. Gardai have appealed for information.