Five killed on roads over weekend: ‘Too many families have suffered trauma’

Double fatality on Sunday in Sligo collision brings to 76 number of deaths this year, 32 more than same period in 2021

14/03/2022 Gardai  speak to motorists pictured this morning at a Garda checkpoint on Chapelizod Road, Dublin  at the launch of an appeal by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána for their St. Patrick’s Weekend Bank Holiday road safety appeal. The RSA and An Garda Síochána will focus their appeal on drink driving but particularly drink driving the morning after.....Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Gardaí have appealed to the public to exercise caution over the remainder of the bank holiday weekend after five road fatalities in just over 48 hours.

The latest deaths were in Co Sligo where two men were killed in a three-car collision on the N15 in Rathcormack at approximately 5.20pm on Sunday.

The two men were aged in their 70s and were the driver and passenger of one vehicle, gardaí said. Gardaí appealed for any road users who may have camera footage, including dash cam, in the area to make it available to investigators.

It follows the death of three motorcyclists. A man in his 40s died on Saturday afternoon following a road traffic collision involving a motorcycle and a car in Clifden, Co Kilkenny.

Another two male motorcyclists were injured and taken to Waterford Regional Hospital. The male driver of the car, who was in his 30s, and two female passengers were taken to St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny with injuries that are not life-threatening.*

That came just a day after two motorcyclists were killed in a crash on the M50 in Dublin, northbound between junctions 9 and 7. They died when they were involved in a collision with a truck on Friday afternoon. The victims, men in their 50s and 60s, were pronounced dead at the scene.

It is understood the men were friends and had come from the UK to tour around Ireland by motorcycle. Gardaí are working on the theory the men may have crashed into each other and were then hit by the truck almost instantly.

There have now been 32 more people killed in crashes so far this year compared with the same period last year; 76 deaths compared to 44. While road deaths had been falling over a long period in the Republic, the significant increase this year has caused concern among gardaí and safety chiefs.

Gardaí on Sunday made an appeal to the public to be careful over the remainder of the weekend as several families had already been left grief-stricken as a result of the deaths since late last week.

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, who leads Roads Policing and Community Engagement across the Garda organisation, said while the holiday weekend should be about fun and enjoyment, it had been marked by several deaths.

“In the last 72 hours my colleagues in An Garda Síochána and in the other emergency services across the country have responded to a number of tragic fatal incidents. Too many families have suffered trauma already this weekend,” she said.

“No matter what activity you are taking part in this weekend, please take care. Please ensure that you are following all the appropriate safety advice. If you are travelling on our roads, I appeal to drivers please slow down and ask all road-users to take care over the remaining days of this bank holiday weekend.”

The Road Safety Authority said the roads would be busy on Monday with many returning home after a short break. “Drivers should expect to encounter walkers, cyclists and motorcyclists. The RSA is therefore urging drivers to slow down, look out for vulnerable road-users and don’t forget to take breaks on your journey to avoid falling asleep at the wheel.”

*This article was edited on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times