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Tributes paid to 'enormous personality' Manus Kelly after Donegal councillor dies during rally

Kelly was a three-time winner of the event.

Image: Facebook

TRIBUTES ARE BEING paid by politicians of all hues following the death of Fianna Fáil councillor Manus Kelly yesterday during the Donegal International Rally.

The father-of-five was a highly experienced rally driver and won the event on three previous occasions but died yesterday after his Hyundai i20 hit a bump on the Fanad Head loop stage and crashed into a hedge.

Fianna Fáil leader Micháel Martin paid tribute to Kelly yesterday, describing his racing abilities as “limitless”.

Leas ceann comhairle and local TD Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher also paid tribute to his party colleague, saying that a “dark cloud descended over County Donegal” yesterday.

“I have known Manus for some years and I particularly got to know him extremely well during the recent local election campaign,” Gallagher said.

He was a consummate professional in all that he turned his hand to be that in business, or sports and more recently politics – since his election to Donegal County Council just four weeks ago.

“Manus provided through his business employment for many people , and he always advocated the strength of local business and enterprise. He was a very likable and homely person, with an enormous personality that radiated from him wherever he was. Manus had a great natural way of interacting with people.”

Speaking on behalf of Donegal Sinn Féin, Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn described the death of Kelly as a “devastating loss”.

“His death is a devastating loss for his family, friends, and all who knew him. The people of Donegal took great pride in his many successes as a rally driver, not least winning the Donegal International Rally for the last three years,” Mac Lochlainn said.

The dedication and professionalism he displayed as a top rally driver was extended to his business that employs dozens of local people. And recently, he was elected as a County Councillor for the Letterkenny Electoral Area.

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“We also extend our thoughts and prayers to the man who was injured in the tragic collision today,” Mac Lochlainn added,

Kelly’s co-driver was also injured in the collision and was taken to hospital.

The three-day rally is an annual event and is the largest that takes place in Ireland. Over 200 competitors took part this year.

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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