Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Mayor killed in smash had been given good news about his cancer

The mayor who lost his life in a multiple road tragedy at the weekend had just been given a good prognosis after being diagnosed with cancer.

Two days before the fatal smash which claimed three lives, Sinn Fein politician PJ Branley (58) was given good news by his doctors.

“He was to have had an operation and he was being very positive about it, but after viewing his MRI results, the doctors told him on Friday it could be treated without surgery. He was delighted with himself,” his friend and fellow Ballyshannon town councillor, Phonsie Travers (FG), told the Irish Independent.

Tributes were paid yesterday to the two Sinn Fein activists, Mr Branley from Ballyshannon and Dessie McNulty (40) from Ballintra, who were killed when the van in which they were traveling was in collision with a car on the N15 Ballyshannon to Donegal Town road on Sunday morning.

The teenage driver of the car, Michael O’Sullivan (17) from Lawne Park in Ballyshannon, who was on his way to visit his girlfriend, also perished in the tragedy.

The latest tragedy has prompted Ballyshannon parish priest, Father Cathal O’Fearrai, to call for action to reduce the death toll on the 21 kilometre stretch of the N15 between Ballyshannon and Donegal Town.

“In my 12 years here in Ballyshannon, there have been 15 deaths on this road and I have dealt with most of them,” he said.

“It is hard to understand. The road is even, it’s wide. Maybe the problem is that it is too good. There is something not right here and something needs to be looked at.”

Yesterday, post mortem examinations were carried out on the bodies of the three victims at Sligo General Hospital.

The body of Mr Branley was removed to his family home at St Benildus Ave in Ballyshannon yesterday evening for funeral Mass on Wednesday morning.

The funeral of Mr McNulty will take place in his native village of Ballintra on Thursday morning.

Also on Thursday morning, Mr O’Sullivan’s funeral will take place in Ballyshannon.

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