Man charged in connection with death of queer journalist in hit-and-run

Garda gay man fired

A man has been charged in connection with the death of queer journalist Joe Drennan, who died in a hit-and-run incident in October.

Drennan, 21, was a student at the University of Limerick in Ireland and a journalist for GCN (Gay Community News), regularly covering Irish activism and LGBTQ+ pop culture stories.

Drennan had been waiting at a bus stop in Limerick on Friday, 13 October 2023 at around 9.30pm when he was hit by a car and killed. The driver of the car failed to remain at the scene.

Stock photo of a Garda car
A Limerick man has been charged in connection with the death of journalist Joe Drennan in a fatal hit-and-run.(NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Suspect Kieran Fogarty, 20, was arrested by Gardai (Irish police) on Tuesday morning, (16 January), brought before Limerick District Court, and charged with dangerous driving causing the death of Drennan, as well as driving without insurance or a license, the Irish Examiner reports.

Later that same day at a bail hearing, the court heard from Detective Shane O’Neill who described how, moments before the hit-and-run incident, Fogarty was witnessed driving a BMW “dangerously” and “at speed”.

O’Neill said that the BMW “driven by Kieran Fogarty” overtook a patrol car at speed, prompting officers to activate the car’s sirens and follow him from a “safe distance,” The Journal reports.

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He went on to describe how the BMW ran a red light and collided with a white Volkswagen car, injuring the driver and front seat passenger.

Detective O’Neill alleged that Fogarty then “lost control” of the car and mounted a kerb near a bus stop, fatally hitting Joe Drennan.

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The garda in Ireland
Kieran Fogarty has been slapped with three charges in connection with the hit-and-run incident that killed journalist Joe Drennan. (Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty)

Objecting to Fogarty’s bail, Detective O’Neill told the court that there was strong evidence against the suspect, including CCTV footage that places him as the only occupant of the BMW car, DNA discovered on the airbag of the car that allegedly matched Fogarty’s, and text messages uncovered by Fogarty in which he told recipients that he had been involved in a collision in which a person had died.

O’Neill told the court that he was against Fogarty being released on bail, describing him as a “danger the the community.”

The detective also noted that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was considering “further serious charges” against Fogarty in relation to the incident.

Judge Carol Anne Coolican ruled that Fogarty was entitled to the presumption of innocence, but refused his bail application.

Fogarty is now remanded in custody and scheduled to appear before the court again, via video-link, on 23 January.

Drennan is remembered by his GCN colleagues as “incredibly sweet, funny, gracious, and so, so cool”, as well as “confident and focused and completely reliable.”

Editor Peter Dunne said: “You could say his voice being silenced is a loss to the writing community, the queer community, his hometown, but none of those would say enough. It is the world’s loss.”

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