Death of two children on roads should be ‘wake-up call’ for all motorists, says Minister

André Castro Ladeiro (8) ‘taught us how to smile every single day and be grateful’, says father, as first of two funerals takes place

Minister for Finance Michael McGrath has urged motorists to be aware that a car can be a “potential weapon” as he offered his condolences to the families of two children who died on the roads in recent days.

Fatalities for the first six months of 2023 reached a six-year high with 95 people dying in road traffic incidents as of July 26th. This is an increase of 10 per cent on the same period from last year.

On Saturday the funeral took place of André Castro Ladeiro (8), who died from injuries he sustained in a collision when crossing the road with his bike in Carrigaline, Co Cork. On Tuesday the funeral will take place of Savannah Barry Calvert (14), who died after she was hit by a car in Limerick city.

Speaking in Cork Mr McGrath offered his condolences to both families.


André, originally from Portugal, lived in the same area as Mr McGrath. “One of my own boys is part of the same year group” in Carrigaline GAA, the Minister said.

The Minister said deaths on the roads, particularly those of young people, represented a “wake-up call” for society. “It is a wake-up call for all of us to realise that when we are in charge of a vehicle it is a great privilege. It is a huge asset. But it is also a potential weapon. We all just have to reflect on our own driving behaviour and to protect and safeguard those around us and that is not to pass comment on any individual incident, which will continue to be investigated over the period ahead.

“More broadly I think we all have to reflect on that obligation because when you see up close the devastation of loss when it occurs as a result of a tragic accident on the roads you have to do what it takes to avoid that.”

Mourners at André's funeral heard that the young boy, who moved to Ireland with his family four years ago, had mastered English within six months so he could chat to friends he made here.

His father, Cesar, spoke from the altar at the requiem mass at the Church of Our Lady and St John in Carrigaline. He said that he and his wife, Filipa, had experienced a “wrecking ball of emotions” in the wake of the fatality.

He said André had touched the lives of so many people in his short but action-packed life. He joked that when André was born on December 22nd, 2014 he quickly taught his parents that going for a drink, travelling or even getting sufficient sleep was going to be out of the question for a long time.

“He showed us how to be a father and mother. He taught us how to live with our heart outside of our body and how to smile every single day and be grateful.”

The boy’s father said on August 19th, 2019 André started a new “challenging” journey when he moved to Ireland with his family.

“He flew from Portugal and he arrived in his new home here in Carrigaline, yes, four years ago exactly today. Here he made his happy new life with just his brother, mum and dad. Together we have found a wonderful community and we have a created our family here. Thank you to all our neighbours, colleagues, parents and people we met...

“He was generous, respectful and thoughtful. He had loads of energy. He would light up a room. And even at this tragic death, that nobody can cope with, he will light up a room.

“We do have a star looking at us. We will have it in the darkest night now. Goodbye my baby giant André.”

Savannah Calvert’s funeral will take place on Tuesday at St John’s Cathedral in Limerick. She was predeceased by her mother, Jacqueline, who died from cancer last December, and her sisters Sophie and Katie who had cystic fibrosis.

She is survived by her 12 siblings, her father Dermot and her grandmother Bonnie Barry.