Number of road deaths rises as four people killed in Co Kildare and Co Kerry

Man in his 80s left fighting for life after wife travelling in same car is killed


The death toll on the Republic’s roads had increased by four last night as a major Garda crackdown on speeding over the bank holiday weekend was in operation across the country.

Operation Slowdown will see up to 200,000 vehicles checked for speeding this weekend and is being run by the Garda and Go Safe, the company that operates speed cameras.

However, despite the major campaign, there were two fatalities in Co Kerry and two deaths in Co Kildare since the weekend break began.

Traffic island
In the latest incident, in Co Kerry, a woman in her 50s was killed when she lost control of her motorbike at Lissvieen on the approach into Killarney from Cork. While the cause of the crash is still being investigated, it appears the woman’s bike struck a traffic island at 4.50pm on Saturday.

She was from Dunmanway, Co Cork, and some of her close relatives abroad had still not been contacted last night. Gardaí requested her name not be disclosed for that reason.

On Friday, a man was killed when the 4x4 he was driving lost contact with the road and hit a tree on the L3024 near Beaufort, Co Kerry, at 7.15pm. He was named as John Riordan (32), Listry, Co Kerry.

On Friday at 2.30pm, a man in his 20s and woman in her 80s were fatally injured when a motorbike and car collided in Co Kildare, on the N78 between Athy and Ballitore.

The crash happened at a T-junction on a wide, undulating, straight stretch of road close to the M9 Dublin-to-Waterford motorway, about 4km from Athy.

The motorcyclist has been named as John Doyle (29) from Kilberry in Athy. He was travelling from the Glanbia factory at Ballitore, where he was working, to his home at Kilberry.

The woman who died was Elizabeth O’Brien (81) from Castledermot, Co Kildare. She was a passenger in a car driven by her husband, having visited a family member.

Both Mr Doyle and Ms O’Brien were taken to hospital by ambulance from the crash scene but they died from their injuries. Ms O’Brien’s husband, also in his 80s, is seriously ill in hospital.

The latest casualties follow a period in which road deaths have begun to increase again after a major road safety campaign and Garda enforcement drive halved the numbers of deaths to levels not seen since records began 60 years ago.

There were 78 fatalities on the roads in the first five months of this year, compared with 64 deaths during the corresponding period last year.

Enforcement fears
The increase has led to fears that drivers are beginning to become complacent and the Garda’s rate of enforcement has fallen because funds to mount major safety campaigns and put in place additional checkpoints are no longer available.

During a recent appearance before the public accounts committee, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said the strength of the Garda force had fallen to 13,330, with more than 1,200 members having retired since the public sector recruitment moratorium was introduced.

He also suggested a 12 per cent drop in issuing some categories of penalty points last year may in part be attributable to fewer gardaí in the force.