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Crash victim’s family urges Cycle Against Suicide to continue

The scene of the fatal crash near McGrory's Brae, Barnesmore gap on Tuesday. Photo: RTE.ie

The scene of the fatal crash near McGrory’s Brae, Barnesmore gap on Tuesday. Photo: RTE.ie

A CHARITY cycle halted following the tragic death of a motorcycle marshall will continued today (Friday) after the crash victim’s family expressed its desire for the event to continue.

Brenawn O’Connell from Tralee, Co Kerry, was involved in a collision with a lorry between McGroary’s Brae and Lough Mourne on the main Ballybofey and Donegal Town just before noon on Wednesday.

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The 69-year-old was working as a motorcyle marshal on the route of the current nationwide Cycle Against Suicide charity event and was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was taken to Letterkenny General Hospital (LGH) where a post-mortem was carried out.

The driver of the truck did not sustain any injuries and none of the cyclists taking part in the event were involved in the incident. The road between Ballybofey and Donegal town was closed for a Garda forensic examination but was reopened on Wednesday night.

Speaking on Wednesday night, Jim Breen, founder of Cycle Against Suicide, said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with our dear friend and his family at this incredibly difficult time. Our hearts are simply broken.

Well-known musician and The Voice Of Ireland mentor, Bressie (Niall Breslin) who was participating in the charity cycle, posted a message on his Twitter account on Wednesday evening following the tragic accident less than an hour after the cyclists left Donegal town. “Deeply upsetting to lose a colleague today in @CASuicide. Our hearts are broken and thoughts with family and friends.”

A large number of spectators had gathered in Ballybofey to cheer the cyclists who were on the Donegal town to Strabane leg of their countrywide tour. However, they turned back to Donegal after the incident.

The late Brenawn O'Connell (69).

The late Brenawn O’Connell (69).

Yesterday afternoon (Thursday), organisers of the Cycle Against Suicide, issued a statement in which they stated that they would honour Mr’OConnell’s wishes and continue the cycle today.

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“Cycle Against Suicide is strong because of our community and yesterday that community lost one of its dear friends, motorcycle marshall Brenawn O’Connell in a tragic accident. This is a deeply painful time for Brenawn’s family and friends, many of whom are currently with us on the Cycle.

“We offer our sincere condolences to them and in particular to his wife Kerry and his children Sadhbh, Kerry Óg and Tim.

“It has been a very tough 24 hours for all of us who are currently on the Cycle and we owe a great debt to Abbey Vocational School and the wider Donegal Town community for the hospitality and kindness they have shown us for the last two days. The primary concern of our team, our cyclists and all those who support us is to fulfil the wishes of Brenawn’s family.

“This morning they expressed a desire that we continue the journey. This is something we intend to honour and tomorrow we will cycle.” The details of today’s route and timings were to be advised last night.

Witnesses or anyone with information is asked to contact Gardaí in Ballybofey on 074 913770, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

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