Parents of boy (4) killed by drunk driver call for road safety to be taught in schools

Gillian and Ronan Treacy say combination of theory and practical safety and driver training should be on curriculum

The parents of a four-year-old boy killed by a drunk driver have called for drivers education and road safety to be part of school curriculums in order to help tackle Ireland’s annual road death scourge.

Speaking on Tuesday, on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the death of their son Ciarán, Gillian and Ronan Treacy said road safety and responsible driving should be taught and encouraged in schools from an early age.

“Young people are the demographic we are targeting with this message, they are the ones that are heading out on the roads and if you catch them young, it will sow a positive seed in them and hopefully carry it through their driving life,” said Mr Treacy.

Gillian Treacy, who was seriously injured in the collision which claimed Ciarán’s life, said that a combination of theory and practical road safety and driver training should be taught in schools: “There definitely should be both [theory and practical], it is one thing knowing the theory but putting it into practice is another thing.”


Ms Treacy said their eldest son, Sean, who turns 18 this year, and who was travelling with his mother and brother Ciarán when the fatal collision occurred, “is going to be thinking about driving soon, so it is a huge worry for us after everything that happened in our house.

“All we can do is instil a title bit of sense into him, and remind him that it’s not just about him and us, it’s about other road users, and not to bring that heartache on another family,” added Ms Treacy, who for the past six years was a former board director at the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

“We really want to make it be a part of everyday thinking that drink-driving, drug-driving is completely unacceptable,” Ms Treacy said.

The couple, from Portarlington, Co Laois, fronted the RSA’s Crashed Lives television advertising campaign in 2016.

On Tuesday they were presented with the Oisín Crotty Road Safety Award 2024 at the University of Limerick (UL), led by An Garda Siochana, the University, and funded by ESB.

Sean Crotty, whose 19-year-old son and ESB apprentice Oisín Crotty, from Ballynunnery in Co Kilkenny, lost his life in a road collision in 2013, said: “I wanted to be here on behalf of Oisin to support his memory and to do what I could with getting a message out about road safety.”

Reminding people of the wider impact of road deaths, Mr Crotty said: “The aftermath is absolutely horrible. Oisin is gone, we love him to bits, but the cross left behind for the family is incredible, sometimes unbearable.”

Sgt Tony Miniter, from the Limerick Roads Policing Unit, said he has had to attend the homes of five families and inform them that their loved one has been killed in a road traffic collisions.

Sgt Miniter said the impact of drink and drug-driving is “catastrophic” on those left behind and told students: “This is about generating a conversation around not wanting to take drugs and drive – not just because the guards might catch you, but because you don’t want to.”

Sixty-three people have died on Irish roads so far this year, and according to Gardaí, 30 per cent of victims who died in the first three months of this year were aged between 16 and 25.

“Drink driving, drug driving and speeding continuing to be among the primary causes of serious collisions on Irish roads,” added a Garda spokesperson.