The mother of Estlin Wall stated today that she is “very disappointed” at the sentence imposed on the man whose careless driving caused the death of her three year old girl.
Amy Wall was speaking outside Ennis courthouse today where earlier Judge Gerald Keys imposed a fine of €750 on Senan O’Flaherty (63) of Lower Gowerhass, Cooraclare, for the careless driving causing the death of Estlin Wall on March 15th 2017 – a number of days before Estlin was due to celebrate her fourth birthday.
Judge Keys also imposed a €750 fine for the careless driving causing seriously bodily harm to Amy’s husband and Estlin’s father, Vincent Wall and a mandatory four year driving ban.
A truck driver and small farmer, Mr O’Flaherty will be unable to drive and drive for a living during the ban and commenting on the sentence imposed, Amy stated: “When you think the poor man can’t work for four years – that’s literally the amount of time Estlin had on Earth so it is hard to equate the two as being fair.”
She stated: “Even if they think it is a low level of culpability, the consequences are so great. It is hard to feel that just losing your licence is enough for what we have lost and what Estlin has lost.
Amy added: “We are very disappointed, it doesn’t feel right for the consequences. It is hard to think of all the energy we have put into this over the last three years that have delayed the healing and grieving process and trying to move forward with our lives – that that is what it culminates in – a lost licence basically.”
Heavily pregnant with the Walls’ third baby, Amy added: “It is very disappointing but we are days away from having another baby – we have a three year old and there was nothing that was ever going to bring Estlin back so that’s how we are going to have to think about it in order to move forward.”
Amy donated Estlin’s organs and the lungs and kidneys of her ‘superhero’ and ‘lifesaver’ daughter were successfully transplanted to two different recipients.
Asked to describe Estlin today, Amy stated: “Estlin was just such a delight. She commanded a room when she walked into it. She just had so much life and vibrancy. We just loved her to bits and pieces and there hasn’t been a moment of any day that has gone by where we haven’t missed her and wished that she was with us and we know that this is how the rest of our lives are going to go is missing her every moment of every day.”
Amy stated: “To not even get a suspended sentence, it doesn’t feel right at all. And there was talk of remorse being shown which we have not seen at all.”
Amy commented: “The process has been so frustrating and difficult for us and it is has ended with a very disappointing sentence so we just have to accept that and try to keep moving forward and the new baby coming will help us do that. It will be hard to stay too stuck in the past and we know that Estlin is always with us in our hearts and that’s all we really have.”
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) can appeal against the sentence if the Director believes the sentence is “unduly lenient”.
Asked if she was in favour of an appeal to the Court of Appeal, Amy stated: “It is hard to even think of putting even any more energy into this and going through the process again and just to have a similar sentence be put down – I just don’t think there is much point in doing that.”
She added: “Mr O’Flaherty – I know that he knows he was responsible and I’m sure he got off quite well today and I don’t really want to put much more energy into him.”
Vincent sustained a significant brain injury in the crash and commenting on his own recovery, he stated: “The recovery is so slow it is actually hard to tell if I have improved really. It feels like I have just gotten good at being injured.”
Vincent described the sentence as “very deflating” after three years “of waiting and waiting and waiting” .
By Gordon Deegan