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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 18 October, 2018
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Man (19) charged with dangerous driving causing death of GAA coach

Eugene McNamara was killed while walking along a footpath in Ennis last October.

Image: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

A 19-YEAR-OLD Slovakian man today appeared in court charged with dangerous driving causing the death of GAA coach Eugene McNamara.

At a special sitting of Ennis District Court today, Rene Miko of Place de Plouzane, Kilrush, Co Clare, was also charged with unlawfully taking a 02 WW registered car on the same date, 26 October last in Ennis.

A young brother of double All-Ireland winning Clare hurler Stephen McNamara, Eugene McNamara, 42, lost his life as a result of the incident when he was walking along a footpath just after 10pm on 26 October at the McDonalds roundabout in Ennis.

In court, Garda Alan Ryan gave evidence of the arrest, charge and caution and told the court that Miko made no comment when charged with dangerous driving causing death.

Ryan said that in response to the unlawful taking of the car charge, Miko replied: “I never stole it.”

In court, Inspector Tom Kennedy said gardaí were objecting to bail due to fears that Miko is a flight risk.

Kennedy told the court the dangerous driving causing death charge “is a very serious charge”. He also stated that Miko’s passport expired in 2011 and gardaí do not have evidence that he hasn’t applied for another passport.

Legal aid was granted in the case as Miko is not working.

The solicitor for the accused, John Casey, said his client isn’t a flight risk as his life is here in Ireland and has been living here with his family since Miko was aged nine.

Casey said Miko hasn’t left Ireland since arriving here 10 years ago and that his parents and siblings were in court. Casey said Miko is engaged to be married and his Irish-born fiancée is due to give birth to their baby in January.

In sworn evidence, Miko told the court: “My life is here in Ireland.”

He added: “I don’t want to leave the country. I will not be leaving the country. My fiancée is pregnant.

I am here for a long time. Ireland is my home. I have been here since I was nine years old. I have family here, everyone. I have no family in Slovakia, they are in Ireland.

Casey said Mr Miko has been questioned in relation to what occurred on 26 October last a number of times by gardaí and arrived by appointment at Ennis Garda Station yesterday evening to be charged.

‘Here for the long haul’ 

Casey said his client is willing to meet any signing-on conditions.

He said: “The charge before the court is very serious. We can’t go into the facts of the case today, but he is innocent until proven guilty. He is very much involved with his fiancée and her family. Regardless of what happens at the end of the day, Ireland is his home. He is not a flight risk and he will show up in court. He is here for the long haul.”

Casey said the entire Miko family moved here in 2009 because of racism and because Miko’s parents wanted to come here to give their children opportunities they never had. He said: “There is no return for them to Slovakia.”

In response, Judge Gráinne O’Neill remanded Miko in custody with consent to bail.

As part of the bail conditions, Judge O’Neill said an independent surety of €6,000 be put forward with a third to be lodged along with Miko providing his own surety of €3,000 with one-third to be lodged.

Miko and his relatives didn’t have sufficient funds to take up bail today and he will appear at Ennis District Court on Wednesday via video link if he doesn’t take up bail in the meantime.

Inspector Kennedy said the case will be going forward to the circuit court and that gardaí expect to have the book of evidence in the case complete before the end of this month.

Comments are closed due to ongoing legal proceedings.

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Gordon Deegan

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