TRIBUTES have been paid to a mental health campaigner who died after he was struck by a car in Cork city at the weekend.
Father-of-three Martin Lawlor, aged 49, who is originally from Tralee, County Kerry, was killed while he was walking on the Airport Road in Cork at about 5.30am on Saturday.
A taxi driver in his 60s, who was arrested in relation to death, has been released from custody and a file has been sent to the DPP.
Gardaí have appealed to members of the public who may have witnessed the incident to come forward. It is understood that Mr Lawlor was returning to the Cork International Hotel from a night out when he was struck by a car.
The driver of the vehicle left the scene. Another motorist raised the alarm after he spotted a body on the road. Mr Lawlor was pronounced dead at the scene.
Gardaí subsequently stopped a taxi driver who had a damaged windscreen. Mr Lawlor was employed in Cork, but was due to return home to his family in the north of England.
He was the director of the Centre for Recovery and Social Inclusion in Ireland, which is linked to UCC.
He was also the co-founder of State of Mind Ireland, alongside his sister Dr Susan Lawlor.
Susan said their family is devastated: “There are not words to express the deep sadness and emptiness I feel with the untimely death of my lovely brother and best friend,” she tweeted.
“Life will never be the same again.”
In a Facebook post, she later said: “You were the best brother and best friend anyone could ask for. My heart is aching.”
State of Mind Ireland extended its deepest condolence to Dr Lawlor and the Lawlor family with the “untimely death of their father, brother husband and friend.”
“It is beyond tragic the way he was taken from us all.”
Dr Fiona Chambers, head of the School of Education in UCC, said she was “shocked and saddened at the untimely passing of Dr Lawlor.”
She described him as a “champion of mental health” and stated that it was “a privilege to know and work with him.”
State of Mind Ireland aims to improve the mental health, wellbeing and working life of sports players and sporting communities throughout Ireland. Dr Lawlor was the programme lead and the medical director of the initiative.
Kerin O’Rahilly’s GAA Club are a partner with State of Mind. They said that it was with “profound shock and sadness” that they learned of the death of their friend Dr Lawlor.
Dr Lawlor was a respected forensic psychiatrist who regularly commuted from his job in Cork to his family in Manchester.