Drunk driver who killed young boy in Laois has sentence reduced on appeal

The family of Ciarán Treacy say they are “disappointed” by the appeal outcome

The family of a boy who was killed by a drunk driver say they are "disappointed" his sentence had been reduced on appeal.

Finbarr O’Rourke of Laurel Drive in Portlaoise was originally handed a seven-and-a-half year sentence for Ciarán Treacy’s death.

The four-year-old was being driven home by his mother when O’Rourke crashed into them near Portarlington in April 2014.

Just before the crash, she said she saw the driver slumped over the steering wheel. His sentence hearing heard there was no evidence of braking.

O'Rourke told gardaí he had only consumed two glasses of wine but it emerged he had drank up to ten pints. 

Mr Justice Alan Mahon said his decision to drive on April 17th, 2015, was a "calculated and callous act".

But O'Rourke argued the sentence was too severe and claimed he had been made an example of and not given enough credit for mitigating factors.

The Court of Appeal felt there was an error in principle and noted this case had not involved a prolonged period of dangerous driving or excessive speed.

A fresh sentence of eight years with the final two suspended was deemed more appropriate.

However, it also ruled that a 20-year driving disqualification post-release should stand.

John Browne, solicitor for the Treacy family, made a short statement on their behalf outside court afterwards: