One of Ireland’s leading rally drivers has been killed in a tragic accident during the Donegal International Rally.

Donegal’s Manus Kelly died after a crash on the third and final day of event.

He was involved in an accident mid-way through the Fanad Head stage, which was the first of six scheduled stages on Sunday.

The rally was subsequently halted.

This evening Motorsport Ireland and the Donegal International Rally confirmed the news of his untimely death.

In a joint statement, they said:

"Donegal Motor Club & Motorsport Ireland would like to extend its sympathies to the family and friends of Manus Kelly who was fatally injured during a tragic accident while competing in the Donegal International Rally on Sunday, 23rd June 2019.

"Manus was a three time winner of the rally and was immensely popular in the rally fraternity. He was elected to Donegal County Council in the recent elections and was a prominent business man in Donegal.

"Our thoughts are with his family and all affected at this time."

From Glenswilly, Kelly, aged 41, was married with five children, and was an extremely well known and popular competitor.

He had won the last three Donegal International Rallies.

Emergency services rushed to the scene of the crash near Baile na Brocar on the scenic Fanad stage.

The race was suspended as a result of the crash.

The co-driver, Donall Barrett, was taken to hospital, but his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

News of Manus Kelly's death has evoked a sense of great shock and loss among those who knew him and the whole rally family.

The relevant authorities have begun a full investigation into the incident and will be assisted by Motorsport Ireland and Donegal Motor Club.

Motorsport Ireland and its affiliated clubs are recognised internationally for operating to the highest standards of motorsport safety for competitors and spectators in line with the best practice of the FIA.

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