Donegal man the first road fatality of 2013


The first fatality on Irish roads in 2013 happened yesterday when a 39-year-old single man from Straboy, Glenties, Co Donegal, lost his life.

Packie Gildea died in a single-vehicle crash at 8.50am.

He was a brother of former Donegal intercounty player John Gildea.

The incident happened when a jeep in which Mr Gildea was the only occupant collided with a large concrete pillar at Dooish outside Ballybofey on the road to Glenties.

Mr Gildea, a farmer, was taken by ambulance to Letterkenny General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A postmortem will be carried out today.

Garda forensic collision investigators examined the crash scene yesterday. The road was closed for several hours and traffic was diverted.

The collision occurred on a day when provisional figures published by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) showed 161 people lost their lives on the State’s roads last year, 25 fewer than the number in 2011 and 51 fewer than in 2010.

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said the figure was a new record low for fatalities.

“The ongoing effort to reduce the tragedy of road deaths is working,” he said.

“But this change really comes down to the efforts of every single road user. We can never forget those who lost their lives on the roads in 2012 but next year we can take it a step further.”

There has been a 56 per cent decrease in road deaths and a 51 per cent reduction in serious injuries up to the end of 2011 since the third road-safety strategy was launched in 2007.

“While one death is one too many, this is an extraordinary achievement and something of which you should all be very proud. The challenge now is to build on this success,” said RSA chairman Gay Byrne.