By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — The motor sport industry is to examine all aspects of safety at future events after two men marshaling an international rally in Donegal were killed when a car went out of control and plowed into a crowd of spectators.
The accident happened near a hump-back at Cloghan on the Ballybofey to Glenties Road during Stage Two of the Donegal International Rally on Friday.
Following the tragedy, the three-day rally was called off.
The dead men were George Clarke, 22, married, from Moville, Co. Donegal, and Gerard McKenna, 22, from Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh.
Three other people were also injured, one seriously. All were brought for treatment at Letterkenny Hospital.
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Both the driver and co-driver of the rally car escaped with minor injuries.
The scene of the accident was said to be a popular viewing point for spectators as rally cars negotiating the hump-back often took off.
The Donegal Motor Club called off the 150-car rally, which had started in Letterkenny, immediately after the accident and their sponsors, Shell, backed the cancellation decision.
An emergency meeting of the Motorsport Commission, the governing body for rallying, considered the implications of the fatalities on Sunday.
The meeting decided all safety procedures had been correctly followed in Donegal and what had happened, “while devastating in its consequences, was an accident.”
All aspects of the Donegal tragedy are to examined as part of an overall safety review, due to be completed in September.
The Commission said that the safety of spectators and competitors was of paramount importance.
The rally is one of the biggest international sporting and tourism events in the Donegal calendar and has prided itself on its safety record.
It has been running for about 30 years but had also been called off last year due to the foot-and-mouth-disease crisis.