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Joe Drennan

Tributes paid to road victim, Joe Drennan, as gardaí continue search for hit and run driver

Drennan was waiting for a bus when he was struck by a car.

GARDAÍ ARE CONTINUING to search for the driver of a car involved in a fatal hit and run that claimed the life of “inspirational” University of Limerick journalism student, Joe Drennan, last Friday night.

Mr Drennan, (21), of Knocknagad, Mountrath, Co Laois, was standing at a bus stop at Dublin Road, Castletroy, Limerick, when a car that had, immediately beforehand, been involved in a collision with another car, as well as an alleged interaction with Gardaí earlier on the night, struck and killed him.

It’s understood that Joe, who was shortlisted last April for Journalist of the Year at the annual national Student Media Awards, was waiting for a bus around 9.50pm, after he had finished a shift at a local restaurant.

Gardai said the driver of one of the cars “failed to remain at the scene” and that the driver of the second car, a male in his 40s and a female adult passenger, were taken to University hospital Limerick for non life threatening injuries.

Joe’s death has left his family, friends, and fellow students and tutors at UL, shocked and distraught.

Paying tribute to him, Sunday, Dr Kathryn Hayes, Course Director, BA Journalism and Digital Communication, University of Limerick said: “We are absolutely devastated in the journalism department and in the wider UL community to learn of the tragic death of our student Joe Drennan. Our heartfelt sympathies are with Joe’s family at this terrible time and all of his classmates and many dear friends.”

Dr Hayes said Joe had been “an inspirational student and a hugely talented young journalist, who had a bright career ahead”.

“He was passionate and creative and will be sorely missed by all of us who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him,” Dr Hayes added.

Appealing for witnesses, Gardaí asked that “any road users who were travelling in the area of Dublin Road, Castletroy, Limerick on Friday 13th October, between 9pm and 10pm, and who may have camera footage (including dash-cam)” to make the footage available to investigators at Henry Street Garda Station (061-212400), or to the Garda Confidential Hotline (1800-666-111), “or any Garda Station”.

Local school teacher and Aontú representative, Eric Nelligan tweeted: “My thoughts go out to the victim and family”. Nelligan said a helicopter was “drafted in to assist locate the occupants of one of the vehicles”.

Gardaí are understood to be probing whether there are any possible links between the fatal collision and a burnt out vehicle discovered in Corbally, Friday night.

When asked about this, a Garda spokeswoman replied: “Gardaí are investigating an incident of criminal damage by fire, of a car, which occurred at approximately 9.30pm on Friday 13th October 2023 at a location in Corbally, Limerick.”

“Enquiries are ongoing and no further information is available at this time,” she added.

The car that struck Joe Drennan was allegedly involved in an interaction with a Garda unit prior to the collision on the night, and therefore, while Gardaí are continuing their own investigation, they have also referred the circumstances surrounding the fatal collision to the office of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), as is required by statute when Gardai have interacted with persons involved in an incident in which there has been loss of life.

A GSOC spokeswoman said it “received a referral from An Garda Síochána during the early hours of Saturday, 14 October, following a road traffic incident in the Annacotty area…the referral was made by a Garda Superintendent under section 102(1) of the Garda Síochána Act, 2005”.

“The matter is now under examination by GSOC and no further comment will be made at this time,” added the GSOC spokeswoman.

According to an obituary on, Joe is survived by his heartbroken parents “Tim and Marguerite, adoring sisters Sarah, Ava and Marie, and brothers Richard, John and Kieran” and his funeral arrangements will be announced later.

In a letter emailed to staff and students, the President of University of Limerick, Professor Kirstin Mey, wrote: “Dear Staff and Students, I am so deeply sad to inform you of the passing of a valued member of our University of Limerick community Joe Drennan, fourth year BA in Journalism & Digital Communication. Joe was also the Editor-in-Chief of the Limerick Voice newspaper.”

“We hold Joe’s family in our thoughts especially his parents Tim and Marguerite and his brothers John, Richard and Kieran and sisters Eva, Sarah and Marie. Our sympathies go out to all of Joe’s journalism classmates and lecturers, to his housemates, friends and fellow UL students and the many others who will be so devastated by his loss.”

“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.”

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