The late Ronan Dunne - 'a great friend and comrade to have'

Dunboyne driver changes plea to admit causing death of friend

Richard McCullen

A young Meath driver has admitted causing the death of one of his friends in a road crash near Dunboyne almost three years ago, on the third day of his trial at Trim Circuit Court.

Twenty-three year old Conor Walsh of Cornelstown House, Dunboyne, had originally pleaded not guilty to a charge of dangerous driving causing the death of 20 year-old Ronan Dunne at Cornelstown on 23rd December 2015, but midway through his trial at Trim Circuit Court admitted the offence.

The court heard that Mr Dunne was a front seat passenger in a car driven by Conor Walsh which crashed at the gate of a farmyard beside the entrance to the defendant's home in the early hours of that day.

A second passenger in the car told the court the three men had earlier been out in Dunboyne where they had four or five pints each. 

He said the defendant's driving seemed normal enough before the crash.

The court heard that paramedics called to the scene found the defendant trying to resuscitate the victim while a garda told the court the defendant had been in a distraught state.

A later technical examination found no sign of any defects with the car before the collision a garda told the jury.

Following his guilty plea the defendant added that he wished to express his regret and sorrow for all the pain he had caused the Dunne family.

Maurice Dunne, the victim's father, who was invited by Judge Martina Baxter to address the court, said his family had been utterly devastated by Ronan's death.

He said his son had been very focussed as a student and sportsman playing both Gaelic football and hurling.

"He was a great friend and comrade to have", said Mr Dunne.

He said the family recognised none on what happened had been set out maliciously and that another family was in disarray on the other side of the village.

"I'm just asking for Ronan's memory and honour to be upheld," Mr Dunne concluded.

Judge Baxter remanded the defendant on bail to February for a sentence hearing and directed that a probation report and a fomal victim impact report be prepared for that hearing.

A charge of drunk driving which the defendant had denied was withdrawn from the jury by the judge following legal argument on the second day of the hearing.