Enda Dolan's father to speak at Eglish church on Temperance Sunday
THE father of a Co Tyrone teenager killed by a drunk driver is to speak at a Catholic church on Temperance Sunday to warn of the dangers of alcohol and drugs.
Peter Dolan will address parishioners at St Patrick's Church in Eglish about the devastating impact of losing his 18-year-old son Enda.
The teenager, from Killyclogher near Omagh, was walking to his student accommodation in south Belfast when he was knocked down in 2014.
The driver David Lee Stewart, who had consumed drink and drugs, drove with the victim on the roof of his van for about 800 yards before stopping.
He admitted offences including dangerous driving causing the teenager's death and was initially sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison followed by the same period on licence. The seven-year sentence was later increased on appeal to nine, with half served behind bars.
Enda's family have been campaigning for the maximum 14-year sentence for death by dangerous driving to be increased to a life sentence.
Peter Dolan said he hoped to highlight the "consequences of not dealing properly with alcohol and drugs".
"Enda was the victim, but we're also the victims, our family and our children and the local community – and the ripple effect it has on everybody," he said.
Mr Dolan added that he hoped to leave the congregation with "some sort of message if I can in terms of moderation", and to "think twice" about drugs and alcohol consumption.
As part of the family's campaign for tougher sentences, Mr Dolan said they met justice minister Naomi Long at Stormont on Wednesday.
He described it as a "very positive meeting" as they await the results of a recent public consultation on reviewing sentences.
Mr Dolan was invited to speak at 11am Mass by the Eglish Pioneer Total Abstinence Association (PTAA).
It said Temperance Sunday is traditionally the day in the church calendar just before the start of the Lenten period for people to reflect on their relationship with alcohol.
Brian Jordan, president of the Eglish PTAA, said: "If our work in highlighting alcohol abuse and the damage it causes will lead to young people reducing their intake it will have been a worthwhile exercise.
He added: "We urge anyone who consumes excess alcohol to consider reducing or stopping, if only for Lent."