Saturday 25 November 2017

Motorsport: No 'specific' enquiry into death of co-driver in Donegal Rally

Declan Quigley

Motorsport Ireland is not planning any specific enquiry into the accident that claimed the life of Meath co-driver Thomas Maguire on last weekend's Donegal International Rally.

The president of the governing body, Joe Corcoran, says that normal accident investigation procedures which prevail at every rally will be followed and that there are no indications that the circumstances of the tragic accident could have been avoided.

Maguire (26) from Longwood, Co Meath, was guiding driver Shane Buckley through the Knockalla stage of the rally on Saturday afternoon when their Citroen C2R2 left the road. Buckley remains in a critical condition in Letterkenny General Hospital.

"It was an absolute rally accident, one which can happen at any time," says Corcoran. "It was a motorsport event and you can carry out all the safety precautions, but unfortunately on this occasion a young man lost his life. The normal procedures after an accident will be followed and we'll try to glean as much information so that we can learn from it. At first glance there's nothing particular. We always review after every accident."

tragic

Corcoran believes that heightened media interest in the tragic accident should not affect the assessment of the accident.

"Overall, the International Rally in Donegal is a high profile event and one would have expected a high level of interest (in the accident). The family of Thomas very much acknowledged that he was doing what he loved best and they were extremely appreciative of all the things we had in place to get the emergency services to the scene of the accident.

"Every precaution is taken and nothing is spared to make sure that rallies are as safe as they can be. Each event is looked at on its own merits and there's a safety plan in place for each event.

"From my own experience of International rallies, the safety standards in Irish rallying are on a par with anywhere else. The pace at which the emergency services arrived at the scene and the professionalism that was displayed by what is largely a volunteer service was exemplary."

The Donegal International Rally has been the scene of tragedy in recent years. In 2008 a spectator, 18-year-old Richard O'Donnell from Tyrone, was killed and in 2002, two 22-year-old marshals were also killed.

While the future of the event is not currently in question, the Knockalla stage is viewed as being among the most challenging in rallying and its continued inclusion in the event may now be reviewed.

Irish Independent

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