Family of deceased woman seeks to reopen inquest into her death in Athy car crash in which four people died

Dayna Kearney acquitted of charges of driving a dangerous defective vehicle

Leinster Leader reporter

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Family of deceased woman seeks to reopen inquest into her death in Athy car crash in which four people died

The scene of the crash in 2015 near Athy

The family of one of the women who died in a car being driven by Dayna Kearney, that crashed on January 6, 2015, at Burtown, South Kildare, requested that the inquest into her death be reopened.

The father of Niamh Doyle, Bernard Doyle, told the Coroner’s Court yesterday morning (September 24) in Naas Courthouse that the family were still seeking answers to questions.

He said they didn’t understand the role played by cats eyes (on the road) in the car crash, and they also wondered why there wasn’t a conviction recorded in the case.

Dayna Kearney, the driver of the car, was acquitted at Naas Circuit Court on July 28 last of charges of driving a dangerous defective vehicle at the time of the accident.

An inquest into the deaths of the four women, Chermaine Marie Carroll, Niamh Doyle, Ashling Middleton and Gemma Nolan, had opened before the conclusion of the criminal proceedings against Ms Kearney, and was adjourned to allow for that to take its course.

Coroner Denis Cusack said that the matter of the conviction was not something that the Coroner’s Court could get involved in.

He also said that it was rare that an inquest would reopen following the conclusion of criminal proceedings.

He quoted from legislation that a coroner could only reopen an inquest if they believed there was a special reason to do so.

He said that he, along with Garda Inspector Mel Smyth, had examined all the evidence of the criminal trial to see if there was some part of evidence involved in the matter that was not considered by the court in the criminal case.

He assured the family 0f Ms Doyle that he had spent several hours going over the issues and the available evidence thoroughly.

He said he had come to the conclusion that there was no special reason to reopen the inquest.

However, he told the family of the late Ms Doyle that he would make available documentation from various elements of the investigation into the crash, including the post mortem into the deceased and the Road Traffic Collision Documentation, which is the evidence gathered by the Garda investigators — although he cautioned the family that it could be traumatic to read this information.

Coroner Cusack then formally closed the inquests into all four of the young women who lost their lives.

He said that, as he had been going over the evidence, in the forefront of his mind were the four young woman, “wonderful, beautiful and happy girls. I also remembered the driver who was injured in the crash,” he concluded.