Hit-and-run victim was shopping for wedding dress hours earlier

A woman killed following a hit-and-run in Co Donegal had been out window shopping for wedding dresses just a few hours earlier.

Laura Connolly (34) died after being knocked down as she was returning from a night out with friends in the early hours of Sunday morning.

She had just said goodbye to a friend as she walked towards Townspark, Lifford, on the N15 road.

However, she was struck by a white van which failed to remain at the scene.

Gardaí said the van and its driver did not remain at the scene. The car in the photograph was not involved in the incident. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

The young woman was rushed by ambulance to Letterkenny University Hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later.

A postmortem is due to be held later.

A man in his 40s was arrested later under section four of the Criminal Justice Act and is being questioned at Letterkenny Garda station.

Her partner Joe McCullagh and the couple’s son Jamie are being consoled by family and friends.

The couple, who were teenage sweethearts, were due to marry next year, according to friends.

Jason Barr, an SDLP councillor in neighbouring Strabane and a friend of Ms Connolly, said she had earlier in the day been shopping for a wedding dress.

Paying tribute

“My heart goes out to her son, her fiancé, her mother and father and her brothers and the wider Connolly family and her friends,” he told The Irish Times.

“It is just devastating. This is something you just don’t expect to hear.”

Paying tribute to Ms Connolly, he said she was “such an outgoing personality”.

“She lit up the room when she walked into it,” said Mr Barr, who met Ms Connolly at a socially-distanced pandemic bingo event a year and half ago.

“Her nickname for me since was All the Fours, 44,” he said.

“That was Laura, always good with the craic. There was never a dull moment with her, never, she just loved her family, her friends and the craic.

“She lived every day as best she could.”

Ms Connolly looked after her teenage son as well as her father, according to Mr Barr.

She had strong family connections in Strabane too, and Mr Barr said both towns “are in mourning”.


“I hope the person who did this comes forward or the guards get them, to give the family some closure,” he added.

Laura’s uncle Andy Connolly had earlier appealed to whoever knocked her down, or anybody who had any information about the incident, to come forward.

“This is a traumatic experience for everybody in our family, a very massive shock of a girl so full of life a son and boyfriend, father, mother and brother all left with the world turned upside down . . . If you know who this small van killer is, please get in touch.”

Local Lifford county councillor Gerry Crawford said Ms Connolly’s death had cast a shadow over the entire community.

“The passing of someone so young in such tragic circumstances will be widely felt. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family loved ones and her many friends at this most difficult of times.”

A Garda forensic team spent the morning at the scene of the incident and gardaí in Letterkenny appealed for witnesses or anyone with video footage (including dash-cam footage) from the scene or along the route to come forward.