23,596 people killed on Irish roads since 1959
This Sunday, the victims of road collisions globally will be remembered on ‘World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims’. To mark the day, the Road Safety Authority (RSA), Local Authorities, members of An Garda Síochána and the Emergency Services are joining forces to urge people to consider their behaviour on the roads as a mark of respect to those who have lost their lives on Ireland’s roads.
23,596 people have died on Irish roads to date (11 November 2014) since records began in 1959. A further 76,586 received serious, life-changing injuries over the period 1977 to 2013. And already this year, 166 families, friends and communities have lost a loved one.
The RSA will be joined today at the launch of ‘World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims’ by Dr Laura Doherty and Michael O’Neill, both of whose lives have been impacted by road traffic collisions. Dr Laura Doherty was involved in a collision in 2009 which resulted in an acquired brain injury. Laura has spoken widely at educational events, conferences and schools about her own personal experience with an acquired brain injury. Michael O’Neill lost his daughter Fiona O’Neill (21) and her 23-year-old boyfriend Dominic Wogan in a road traffic collision in 2001. The couple were preparing to travel to Australia for a year on the day of the tragic collision. Michael has also recorded a special radio message to mark World Remembrance Day which will be broadcast on radio stations on Wednesday 12 November. Laura and Michael will be representing all those whose lives have been changed forever by road traffic collisions in Ireland.
The RSA along with Road Safety Officers in Local Authorities and road safety support organisations have organised masses, services and commemorative events around the country this Sunday to remember the lives that have been lost and changed forever on our roads. A full list of the events is available on www.rsa.ie
In addition, the RSA will have a ‘Wall of Remembrance’ on its Facebook page www.facebook.com/RSAireland. The Wall of Remembrance is a place for people to come and share their memories, to light a candle and leave a memorial message for a loved one who has been killed or seriously injured on our roads.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe said:
“Since 1959, 23,596 people have died on our roads in tragic yet preventable circumstances. This is roughly the same as the population of Tralee, Co. Kerry. For every life lost on our roads, hundreds more are devastated as behind every tragedy lies a traumatised family and community. This Sunday gives everyone an opportunity to remember those who have been killed or seriously injured on our roads, as well as the people left behind. It’s also a time to remember those in the emergency services who have to deal with the consequences and the aftermath of collisions.”
Ms Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority said:
“’World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims’ gives us an opportunity to remember those who have died on our roads and the families, friends and communities who have been devastated by their loss. When we read reports of the numbers of people who are killed or injured on our roads, we can find it difficult to imagine the real lives behind these statistics. But for thousands of families around the country, their lives are forever changed as a result of a collision. We can save lives on our roads, and we can make our roads as safe as the safest roads in the world, but we can’t do it unless we all work together and take responsibility for our behaviour on the roads,”
“On ‘World Day of Remembrance’, we remember not only the people who have died on our roads, but consider the other preventable tragedies that will happen before the end of the year. Take a moment to think about the changes we all can make to keep our roads free from carnage, and to make sure that fewer families are grieving for their loved ones this Christmas.”
Acting Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan, An Garda Síochána said:
“An Garda Síochána is committed to working to keep our roads free from death and serious injury, but to do this we need the support of each and every person who uses the roads. ‘World Day of Remembrance’ reminds us how quickly and easily tragedy can happen on our roads and I would encourage people to use the day as an opportunity to look at our own actions on the roads and the role we play in keeping them free from tragedy. Every time you sit behind the wheel, get on your bicycle or motorbike, or head out for a walk, consider what you can do to improve your safety on the roads and the safety of everyone around you.”
The following activities will mark ‘World Day of Remembrance’ around Ireland:
Cork: A mass will take place in Cork City in the Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne, Roman Street, at 11.30am. It will be attended by personnel from the emergency services.
Donegal: A special memorial service will take place in St. Eunan’s Cathedral, Letterkenny, Co.Donegal @ 12 noon. In Ballyshannon, a special mass for road victims and blessing of cars will take place in St Patrick’s Church @ 11am.
Dublin: A service is being held in Clarendon Street Church Dublin (just off Grafton St) at 12:30 to remember road victims. There will be a there will be a choir and lighting of candles at the ceremony also.
Galway: A special memorial mass is taking place in the Cathedral Galway @ 3pm.
Kerry: A special memorial mass is taking place in St Mary’s Cathedral Killarney, Co Kerry @ 12pm.
Kilkenny: A special memorial mass is taking place in St Mary’s Cathedral Kilkenny at 11am.
Louth: A special memorial mass is taking place in the Augustinian Church, Drogheda, Co. Louth @ 1.15pm.
Mayo: A service will take place in Castlebar Church at 12 noon and will be attended by members of the emergency services.
Sligo: The PARC Road Safety Group will be holding their 6th annual remembrance event to mark the WDOR for road victims in the Sligo Southern Hotel, Strandhill Road between 2 and 4pm.
Westmeath: The Irish Road Victims’ Association (IRVA) will hold a special ceremony in Bloomfield House Hotel, Mullingar at 2pm
A local radio advertising campaign will also be on air next week to remind people to remember the victims of road collisions.