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Shock at death of businessman Dermot French struck by car as woman bailed over collision in Belfast

By Chris McCullough

Published 03/11/2015

Dermot French
Dermot French
Emergency services at the scene

Tributes have been paid to a well-known businessman who was killed after he was struck by a car in Belfast.

Dermot French from Craigavon died from his injuries after being knocked down on the Lisburn Road on Sunday at around 11.15pm.

A 34-year-old woman from the Upper Malone Road area of Belfast was arrested on suspicion of a number of motoring offences and later released on bail.

Lurgan SDLP councillor Declan McAlinden, who knows the French family, paid tribute to Dermot.

He said: "On behalf of the SDLP party in Lurgan I want to send our condolences to the French family.

"I know Tommy, who is one of Dermot's brothers, very well and I called him on Monday morning.

"As you can imagine, he and the rest of the family are absolutely devastated.

"The French family are all very close and they cannot take this in.

"They are all well-known in this borough for running a number of businesses including the bookmakers and a bar.

"They would also be well-known among the local sporting fraternity as well.

"Tommy and his brothers lost their father some years ago and this is another tragedy for the family."

Dermot was a computer programmer.

He was director of bizTech Software in Belfast, a company he set up in 2006. Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd, who is an MLA for the area, also expressed his condolences to the family.

He said: "This tragic event has shocked the entire community in Lurgan, particularly his wide circle of family and friends.

"Dermot and his family are very well-known in the local community in Lurgan. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Dermot French at this very sad time."

A Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "We received a call at 11.17pm to a report of a one-vehicle road traffic collision at the Lisburn Road.

"Two fire appliances from Cadogan Fire Station and one fire appliance from Central Fire Station were deployed to the scene.

"One male was treated at the scene by firefighters and taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

"Tragically, the man died as a result of his injuries."

A PSNI spokesman said: "The man was struck by a car shortly before 11.20pm on Lisburn Road, close to its junction with Marlborough Park.

"A 34-year-old female was arrested a short time later on suspicion of a number of motoring offences and is assisting police with their enquiries.

"Police are appealing for anyone who was on Lisburn Road on Sunday night and who witnessed the collision to contact local police at Lisburn Road or the collision investigation unit at Steeple police station on the non-emergency number 101."

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