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Come forward Gardai issue appeal on 25th anniversary of Paraic Coffey's death in hit-and-run

"Someone out there knows who killed my brother, somebody knows precisely what happened, certainly the driver of the car involved knows"


Paraic Coffey

Paraic Coffey

Paraic Coffey

Gardai have issued a fresh appeal for information into the death of 18-year-old Paraic Coffey who was fatally injured in a hit and run in Eightyeight Acres, Athboy, Co Meath.

Páraic, who was from Athboy, was struck by a car as he walked home from a disco in the town on June 9, 1996.

The incident and renewed appeal was featured on last night’s episode of Crimecall on RTÉ, Monday, September 20, as this year marks 25 years since Paraic’s death.

Despite a prolonged Garda investigation, there has been no closure for the Coffey family.

“Shortly after 3am on Sunday morning, June 9, 1996, Paraic Coffey was struck by a vehicle as he made his way home from Buck Mulligan’s nightclub in the Darnley Lodge Hotel in Athboy town,” a garda spokesperson said.

“He was walking along the Athboy to Dunderry road when the incident occurred. The vehicle failed to remain at the scene.

“Paraic was taken to hospital by ambulance where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

“Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have any information in relation to this case to make contact with them in an effort to bring this case to conclusion. Gardaí believe that there are people with information on this incident that, for whatever reason, have not previously come forward.

“Many of those who were living in the locality and who would have known Paraic were teenagers and young adults at the time of the incident.

“These people may now have their own families and as such have a deeper understanding of the unbearable loss and the overwhelming search for answers that the Coffey family have held onto for 25 years, from losing a child, a son, or a brother in such circumstances.

Gardai said the nature of the incident would have led to the vehicle involved being damaged.

“Gardaí are appealing anyone who remembers a friend or family member who had unexplained damage to their car, or to anyone who was asked to carry out repairs on a vehicle in suspicious circumstances, to come forward.

“Gardaí are also appealing directly to the person or persons who were involved in the incident that led to the death of Paraic; it is not too late to come forward and explain what happened, and to bring closure to your own life and to the Coffey family.

“An Garda Síochána and Paraic’s family continue to work together in an effort to solve this case,” they added.

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Gardaí are appealing to anyone with information to contact the Incident Room in Kells Garda Station on 046 928 0820, or the Garda Confidential line 1800 666 111.

In June, Páraic’s heartbroken older brother, Sean, issued an emotional appeal for anyone with details of the incident to come forward and reveal what they know.

Sean, who has been based in New York since 1994, is hoping the code of silence that surrounded Páraic's death can be breached.

He said: "Someone out there knows who killed my brother, somebody knows precisely what happened, certainly the driver of the car involved knows and I cannot understand how people can live with that on their conscience.

"Okay, initially people might have been able to cope with the guilt but a quarter of a century is a massive length of time to have to deal with that.

"Look my parents are getting on in years they deserve to know the whole story about what happened before they pass on, it would just be heart."

Sean has revealed that the family were not entirely satisfied with how gardai conducted the investigation into Páraic's death at the time

"We'd have concerns, that's as strong as I can put it to you.

"The former assistant state pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster, found a chip of black plastic in one of Paraic's wounds and it was established that it came from the bumper or wing mirror of a car.

“Leads were followed on a Navy coloured Peugeot 204 car known to have a black bumper that was found to have been repaired within days of the hit and run - yet that car has never been definitively connected to the crime.

"Perhaps with modern technology a positive connection can now be made with that car."

Eight or nine years ago the gardai revisited the case and brought a person in for questioning but he was released without charge.

"A local woman cycling to Mass the following morning noticed that, by that stage, the road had been washed down and reopened - actually we are aware that within two or three hours of the thing happening the road where it occurred was washed down.

"Why was there no Garda cordon in place? There was a death after all, so how come the scene of the crime was not properly preserved?

Devastated Sean clearly recalls how he heard the horrific news.

"Páraic died at 3am Irish time and I was on a night out with my brother and sister here in New York - so when we got home I got a message on the answer machine at 3am US time.

'Look I can understand why people who may know something covered their tracks at the time, they could have been drink-driving or been with someone they were not supposed to be with.

"But come on, it is twenty five years ago, so you have nothing to fear by coming clean now.

"The key to cracking this lies locally.

"The road on which it happened isn't one a stranger would be using, it kind of leads you nowhere really, so please if you know anything step up to the plate and find it in your heart to get our family justice."

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