A woman who crashed her SUV into a building killing her young niece and nephew has been given a suspended jail sentence at Dundalk Circuit Criminal Court.
The Judge told Vera Murden that the attitude of her sister Denise, who had not wanted to see her serve a custodial sentence, was "extremely important."
Murden, aged 40, with an address at Fatima Court, Dundalk, was found guilty after a five-day trial of dangerous driving causing the deaths of Jenna, aged four, and her brother Jayden, aged one, on 31 January 2009.
The trial heard that the SUV was travelling at between 81 and 110km/h when it struck a building near Maxwell's Row, Dundalk.
None of the four children in the rear of the SUV had seat belts on and there were no car seats or booster seats used either, the trial heard.
She had tried to take an illegal right hand turn when the vehicle went out of control and crashed.
Jenna died on 24 February and her brother on 5 March.
Garda Sgt Ger Collins told the court yesterday that since the trial concluded there has been contact between the accused and the parents of the dead children - her sister Denise and her husband John.
"They are trying to rebuild their relationship and it will take time, a lot of time. They have sat down and discussed the accident," the Sgt told the court.
The garda also said the couple "have no desire to see Vera service a custodial sentence."
The court heard the accused has been diagnosed as suffering from chronic post-traumatic stress disorder and has made several serious attempts at suicide.
She has nightmares about the crash and the death of the children and she was particularly close to her niece, who frequently slept over in her house on Friday nights.
Giollaiosa O Lideadha, defending, said Murden "was very grateful for Denise’s support but can't stop blaming herself."
Judge Michael O'Shea said it was "an extremely tragic case."
He said she has expressed genuine remorse and "must live with the effects of the accident for the rest of her life."
He said the loss to the parents of their children was "incalculable," and they were "extraordinary, caring and forgiving people."
He imposed a three-and-a-half-year jail term, which he suspended on Murden entering into a good behaviour bond for four years.
Vera Murden was shielded from the waiting press by a group of supporters, who tried to prevent her photograph from being taken.