Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland man denies 'arranging' car crash

By Tim Healy

The leader of a group that commemorates dead IRA members has denied in court he was involved in an "arranged" traffic accident.

Martin Lafferty (55), from Clady, Strabane, sued the driver of a rented car, as well as Hertz Rent-a-Car itself, for injuries arising out of a collision in Lifford, Co Donegal, on June 28, 2011.

Mr Lafferty was driving with three passengers while the other car, driven by Gareth Feeney, with addresses in Strabane and Middlesex, had a total of five people in the vehicle.

Seven out of the nine, including Mr Lafferty, were awarded sums of less than €10,000 in Buncrana Circuit Court in 2015 for injuries. Hertz is appealing the awards to the Republic's High Court.

The court heard a Garda officer who arrived at the scene saw extensive damage to the rear passenger side of Mr Lafferty's car and some damage to the front of the other vehicle.

Under cross-examination Mr Lafferty said he had been involved in three other traffic accidents in the last 14 or 15 years, including one that was settled and one he was still pursuing.

He was injured in 1993 when he was shot by a British soldier in Newtownards. His father was Neil Lafferty, who was in charge of the West Tyrone brigade of the IRA and who died in Long Kesh.

He agreed he was the person carrying a tricolour at the head of a commemoration march by the Joseph Plunkett 1916 Society - which commemorates the republican dead - in November 2011, a few months after the accident in which he claimed he suffered pain in his head and right shoulder.

He said he was the leader of that society but disagreed that carrying the flag was difficult with his injuries.

He said all the people in his car were members of the society while a person in the other car was a member of a similar group, the Charlie Darcy 1916 Society.

Hertz's lawyer put it to him this was "an arranged accident between you and Mr Feeney".

He replied: "That is a very serious allegation and it is untrue."

The case continues.

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