Ireland

Man charged in connection with Donegal hit-and-run in which boy died

Nine-year-old Ronan Wilson died after he was hit by a vehicle (Kildress Wolfe Tones/PA)
Nine-year-old Ronan Wilson died after he was hit by a vehicle (Kildress Wolfe Tones/PA) Nine-year-old Ronan Wilson died after he was hit by a vehicle (Kildress Wolfe Tones/PA)

A man is due to appear in court after being charged by gardai investigating a crash in which a nine-year-old boy died in Co Donegal.

Ronan Wilson, from Kildress in Co Tyrone, had been visiting the Donegal town of Bundoran when he was struck by a vehicle on Saturday evening.

Gardai said the vehicle failed to remain at the scene of the collision.

On Sunday evening, gardai said a man in his 20s had been arrested for an alleged offence under the Road Traffic Act in relation to the collision.

On Monday, gardai said the arrested man had been charged.

He is due to appear before the District Court sitting in Carrick-on-Shannon at 10.30am on Tuesday.

Flowers and soft toys left on Atlantic Way in Bundoran
Flowers and soft toys left on Atlantic Way in Bundoran Flowers and soft toys left on Atlantic Way in Bundoran (Liam McBurney/PA)

In a post on Facebook, Ronan’s father Dean Wilson said his son was his “main man, my hero”.

“We will never be the same without out (sic), we can’t cope, I’m broken,” Mr Wilson wrote.

Ronan was an avid Gaelic football fan and played for the under-10s team at Kildress Wolfe Tones GAA club.

Chairman of the club Dominic McGurk told the PA news agency Ronan had “that sort of wee face you’d never forget”.

“He was always laughing, he was always grabbing the ball,” Mr McGurk said.

“If our senior team was playing a game, at half-time he’d be out kicking about, if our minor team was playing, at half-time or before the game he’d be out on the field with the other lads running after a ball.

“He was just a happy-go-lucky child and he had a wee smile on his face all the time. He just had that wee bit of bubbliness about him.”

Mr McGurk said the club gathered Ronan’s friends together and held a minute’s silence for him.

He said: “The committee and the club got the message out to the members yesterday morning just to say he had passed away.

“And then the club coaches who coach the under-10-and-a-half team that Ronan played for, they decided the best thing to do for Ronan’s teammates and schoolmates would be to get them all together at the hub.

“Get them down, let them talk, let them run about, kick a ball, whatever they want to do.”

Mr McGurk felt the Kildress community had come together to support each other in the wake of the news, but he said the sudden death of a young player was a “dark day” for the club.

He added: “The feeling yesterday, everyone was just, there was a lot of silence, a lot of numb, a lot of people upset. Children upset, a lot of parents upset.

“It was just a dark day for our club yesterday. It’s very hard to get the words to comfort people at a time like that, and we felt what we did was give the children, we told them to remember Ronan, all the good days they had with him.”

Speaking from the Wolfe Tones GAA pitch in Kildress, Sinn Fein MLA for Mid-Ulster Linda Dillon said the news was devastating to the community.

Sinn Fein’s Linda Dillon (PA) (Liam McBurney/Liam McBurney/PA Wire)

“I heard the news on Sunday morning, obviously local people at that stage had heard and knew the family had lost their wee boy, it was just devastating,” she said.

“Devastating for this community of Kildress, devastating for the club, but obviously more so for the family, who went away for a nice weekend in Bundoran and came home without their wee boy.

“I was talking to people here earlier on at the club and all they talked about was his wee smiley face, his wee cheeky smile and a beautiful smile that he had, and how much him and all of his family have given to this club and this community.”

Ms Dillon said it would be a “difficult time” for the Wilson family and that the support of those who knew Ronan would be with them.

She said: “It’s a very difficult role to be in, to support a family at a time like this. And all that we can say is that all of the community here will be here for you.

“We will do what we can, we’ll give you whatever support we can. But, obviously, there’s nothing that we can say or do that is going to take away the pain that they feel at losing Ronan at this time, but we will absolutely be here to help you to pick up the pieces afterwards and to do whatever we can for you.

“And my heart and my thoughts and the thoughts of every person in this community and right across Mid-Ulster are with Ronan’s family today.”

Donna Hagan, club secretary at Kildress Wolfe Tones GAA, said once the club heard the “shocking” news of Ronan’s death, they began to make arrangements to postpone matches out of respect to the Wilson family.

Club secretary Donna Hagan (PA) (Liam McBurney/Liam McBurney/PA Wire)

“Initially, we were to have two championship matches on Sunday morning. Under-16 girls were to play in the championship semi-final, and our senior men were to play in the first round of the intermediate championship.

“So the initial stages were to get in contact with the respective county boards to postpone the games and we’d like to thank the county boards – Tyrone GAA CCC and Tyrone Ladies – on their support on postponing the matches.

“On Sunday morning we then opened the doors for Ronan’s clubmates, teammates and classmates to come here and remember Ronan.”

Ms Hagan said Ronan was an active supporter and was always smiling.

“He would always have been here supporting other teams when matches were on, and he always had a smile on his face. He had a very bubbly personality.”

Ms Hagan said Ronan’s sudden death would have a “massive impact on everyone in the community”.

“You can see how it is affecting everybody in different ways and it’ll affect people at different stages in different ways, as well, but we as a community are here to support each other and support the family in any way that we can,” she said.

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill paid tribute to Ronan on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Hearts are heavy across the country for the beautiful wee Ronan Wilson. My thoughts and prayers are with Ronan’s family and his home community of Kildress at this tragic and saddest of times,” she said.