Young UCD student hit by Luas tram was already dead from fall, hears inquest

AuthorSeán McCárthaigh
Published date14 October 2022
Publication titleDublinLive (Ireland)
Cormac Ó Braonáin, 19, a second year student of medical science and international relations at UCD and chairperson of Labour Youth, was killed after coming off his bicycle while cycling along the Luas track at Peter's Place in the early hours of December 15, 2019

An inquest into his death at Dublin District Coroner's Court on Thursday heard that he was struck by a late-night southbound tram on the Luas Green line at the start of a ramp approaching the Charlemont stop at 3.05am.

However, State pathologist, Heidi Okkers, said the results of a post-mortem showed that he was already dead before the impact with the Luas tram. Dr Okkers said the victim was considerably intoxicated – with alcohol levels almost five times over the legal driving limit – which would have restricted his ability to move off the Luas track after he fell off his bicycle.

The pathologist said the autopsy results showed Mr Ó Broanáin was not alive when he suffered rib fractures after being hit by the Luas. She said he had died as a result of being unable to breathe as a result of neck compression.

Under cross-examination by Conor Halpin SC, counsel for the Ó Braonáin family, Dr Okker withdrew a finding that the deceased's level of intoxication was a contributory factor. Mr Halpin said it was possible that Mr Ó Braonáin could have lost consciousness after the fall irrespective of what level of alcohol was in his body.

Mr Ó Braonáin's mother, Eva Walsh, gave evidence of meeting her son at the Iveagh Hotel on Harcourt Street at 8.45pm on the previous evening when he had consumed two pints of lager. "I would not have considered him at all to be intoxicated," she observed.

Ms Walsh said he had been unable to join her and his father, Lúghaidh, at a music gig in Rathmines because he had promised to go to a 21st birthday party at the Conradh na Gaeilge club on Harcourt Street.

Ms Walsh described her son as "an incredible young man who was very community oriented." She said he worked very hard at everything he did and was heavily involved in youth organisations and campaigning for human rights, particularly in his new role as chair of Labour Youth.

On the day before his death, she said he had taken part in a demonstration against the constitutional amendment which removed the automatic right of citizenship to every child born in Ireland after January 1, 2005.

"That was something very close to his heart," she remarked. Ms Walsh added: "He was on his way to a life in politics."

She said how Ireland...

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