Inquest hears details of fatal Co Donegal crash
AN inquest into the deaths of eight men who died in a crash in Co Donegal in 2010 has heard details about the fatal collision.
The crash between Clonmany and Buncrana on July 11 2010 claimed the lives of seven men in one car, all aged between 19 and 23, and the driver of the other car, 66-year-old Hugh Friel.
Opening proceedings in Buncrana on Wednesday, coroner Dr John Madden told jurors the evidence they would hear would be at times harrowing and technically complex.
Chief Pathologist at Letterkenny General Hospital Dr Gerry O'Dowd gave evidence of the injuries suffered and each man's cause of death.
"We have never had a day like that in Letterkenny and I hope we will never have a day like it again," he said.
The father of victim Ciaran Sweeney asked Dr O’Dowd if his son had died in pain.
Dr O'Dowd replied that it is extremely unlikely Ciaran died in pain or that he was aware of what was happening.
Solicitor Ciaran McLaughlin, representing Shaun Kelly, who is serving a four-year jail term for dangerous driving causing the deaths of the eight men, objected to the inquest going ahead without his client being present.
But he was overruled by the coroner.
Mr McLaughlin also claimed that depositions read into the record by witnesses who were not present were not the same as statements made to gardaí, saying they had been "chopped and changed".
The mother of victim James McEleney said there were discrepancies in evidence of how her son got into the car on the night of the crash and she wanted the full story.
Stephen Byrne, for the Garda Commissioner, said that families had not been told who would be called as a witness and he suggested that the inquest be adjourned to allow them access to draft depositions which it is proposed to include in proceedings.
The coroner agreed to allow families read draft depositions overnight before resuming evidence today.
In addition to Mr Friel, the other men who died were Eamonn McDaid (22) of Ballymagan, Buncrana; Mark McLaughlin (21) of Ballinahone, Fahan; Paul Doherty (19) of Ardagh, Ballyliffin; Ciaran Sweeney (19) of Ballyliffin; PJ McLaughlin (21) of Rockstown, Burnfoot; James McEleney (23) of Meenaduff, Clonmany; and Damien McLaughlin (21) of Umricam, Buncrana.