Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Tributes paid to rally spectators

Gardai at the scene in Co Cavan where two spectators were killed and several others injured at a rally race
Gardai at the scene in Co Cavan where two spectators were killed and several others injured at a rally race

Two spectators killed when a rally car ploughed into a crowd both died watching a sport of their passion, their clubs have said.

Tributes have been paid to female rally co-driver Caroline Cleary and photographer Joe Lane, who died when a Ford Escort lost control at a race in Ireland.

Five other spectators and the Escort's driver and co-driver remain in hospital.

Ms Cleary, 30, an experienced navigator and co-driver with Wexford Motor Club, was watching boyfriend Sean Hayde take part in the Cavan Stages Rally as the tragedy unfolded.

Pat O'Dowd, of Wexford Motor Club, said the sport was Ms Cleary's life.

"It's a sad, sad day for everyone. Caroline always had a smile on her face and was always happy to help," he said. "From the time she could get out and about she was, as a spectator, a club member, a co-driver. Motor sport was her life."

The Wexford woman, who is believed to have been pregnant, recently moved to Cork to be with her partner.

Mr Lane, 50, from Kilgoggin, Co Galway, was a part-time motor sports photographer and a regular contributor to publications. Mark Parsons, of Galway Motor Club, said it was with great sadness the club learnt of the tragic passing of their friend and past member, who was married to Martina and had two children, Graham and Shona.

"Joe passed away doing what he loved, taking photographs of rally cars in action," he said. "He travelled the length and breadth of the country following his passion for rallying. Our thoughts are now with his family and with the family of Caroline Cleary who also died in this tragic accident."

Gardai and Motorsport Ireland, which governs the sport, have launched separate investigations into the accident which happened at Monaghanoose, a townland about a mile outside Bailieboro in Co Cavan, on Sunday morning.

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