Republic of Ireland news

Donegal rally driver Manus Kelly's 'talent was limitless'

Three-times Donegal Rally winner and newly-elected Fianna Fáil councillor Manus Kelly

THE final stages of the Donegal Rally were called off yesterday following the death of driver Manus Kelly.

Mr Kelly (41) was a three-time winner of the competition. He was also a newly-elected Fianna Fáil councillor on Donegal County Council.

The deceased also managed Glenswilly Gaelic football team, steering them to Junior B success in 2016.

His co-driver Donall Barrett was injured in the crash and was last night being treated at Letterkenny General Hospital, though his injuries were thought not to be life threatening.

Mr Kelly is survived by his wife Bernie and their five children.

It is understood the crash occurred at the Fanad Head loop on the final day of the three-day event around 12.30 pm yesterday. Mr Kelly's Hyundai i20 R5 crashed after hitting a bump near Baile na Brocar before it went through a hedge and into a field.

Mr Kelly, known as 'Mandy', was the managing director of Letterkenny-based company Tailored Facility Solutions (TFS).

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin offered his condolences to the deceased man's family.

He said Mr Kelly had "just embarked on a promising career in local politics" and that he would be sorely missed.

"As three time consecutive and reigning champion of the Donegal International Rally, Manus's racing talent was limitless," he said.

"He was widely respected and loved by all of the rally community here in Ireland."

Donegal Motor Club and Motorsport Ireland issued a statement yesterday evening confirming the death of the popular driver.

“Donegal Motor Club and Motorsport Ireland would like to extend its sympathies to the family and friends of Manus Kelly who was fatally injured during a tragic accident while competing in the Donegal International Rally on Sunday, 23 June 2019," the statement said.

"Manus was a three-time winner of the rally and was immensely popular in the rally fraternity."

Clerk of the course Eamonn McGee paid tribute to Mr Kelly, describing the news of his death as "devastating".

"He was a great ambassador for the sport and for the Donegal Motor Club and for the county as well," he said.

Meanwhile, more than 40 people were arrested in Letterkenny for a range of offences on Saturday, the second day of the Donegal Rally.

Gardaí said there were 41 arrests in total and one person was arrested for assaulting a garda.

There were 21 arrests for public order offences, eight arrests for searches under the Misuse of Drugs Act, four arrests for dangerous driving, and four arrests for drink-driving.

One person was also arrested for the sale and supply of drugs, one person was arrested for assault causing harm, and another was arrested for being drunk in charge of a vehicle.

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