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'I'm still heartbroken': Woman who lost partner and friend in horrific crash in 'substantial' debt

Kate Flynn was awarded a large payout but hasn’t received any money due to a long-running legal battle.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Charcompix

A WOMAN WHOSE partner and friend were killed in a car crash in 2009 has spoken of her financial problems since the tragedy.

Kate Flynn lost her partner Lee Salkeld and friend Brendan Donnelly in the crash. The incident happened while they were on the way to the Cork airport in October 2009. She and Brendan’s girlfriend were also in the car at the time.

The driver of the other car fled the scene.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio 1′s Liveline today, Kate recalled how Brendan was killed instantly but Lee drifted in and out of consciousness before he died.

“He was alive for a little while in the car … I cradled Lee until he died. But when I saw he wasn’t coming back, I had to resort to tell him that it was okay to go.

“I told him it was okay for him to leave, that I would love [our daughter] Sasha enough for the both of us … He passed away with that message in his ear.”

Anthony Long, the driver of the other car, was later sentenced to five years in prison. Court records show that he had had several pints, shots and cocaine in his system at the time of the crash. He was released after two years.

Kate said the fact Long was let out of jail after two years was “extremely” difficult for the family.

She was awarded a substantial sum in damages in court. However, as Long was insured with Setanta – which went out of business – she hasn’t received any of the money.

“Basically, what happened there was, when they went bust, the court said the MIBI (Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland) had to pay out the outstanding claims. The MIBI’s argument was that, in my case, the MIBI only pays out for uninsured drivers, technically Anthony Long was insured.”

Debt

Kate said the MIBI wants the Insurance Compensation Fund to pay the money instead. The long-running battle is now in the Supreme Court. A spokesperson for the MIBI said the organisation can’t comment as the case is before the courts.

Kate said she is unable to work due to the injuries she sustained in the accident and is in serious debt.

I’m in substantial amounts of debt now because of this, I obviously can’t pay that back because I’m not working so I have that debt hanging over my head.

Her daughter Sasha Lee, who was only five months old at the time of the crash, is now eight and due to make her First Holy Communion shortly – an event Kate said she will struggle to pay for.

Part of the money she was due to receive was for a night nurse to stay with her as she has violent seizures since the accident.

Kate said she is “drained” and “still extremely heartbroken”, adding: “I’m still in a lot of pain physically and emotionally.”

A number of listeners to the programme got in touch to offer help.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing.

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Órla Ryan

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