At least 11 killed in crashes along stretch of N17 in Co Mayo
The ’black spot’ section of road in Co Mayo claimed the lives of three generations this week
The scene of Monday’s fatal car crash on the N17 outside Claremorris Mayo. Photograph: Conor McKeown
The stretch of road on the N17 near Claremorris in Co Mayo where a grandmother, mother and child lost their lives in a road collision on Monday has been described by local residents as “a death trap” and “black spot” for drivers.
A series of road collisions have occurred in the area where the collision occurred on Monday, with local people calling for a roundabout close to the Lisduff junction to lessen the danger for drivers.
Marcella Wilson, a single mother aged in her 40s who lived in Belmullet, her son Sean (6) and her mother Mary Ann died on Monday after their car collided with a northbound articulated lorry about 1pm.
Cormac Hanley, the owner of an equestrian centre near where the collision occurred, said the junction was a “death trap” where crashes took place “by the month”.
“There are so many near misses at that junction. I’ve personally had two very lucky escapes. The speed is too fast and coming onto the road you think you have plenty of time but you don’t.
“We want a roundabout so everybody will be safe. All the neighbours, we’re been talking about this for the past ten years. People are driving in excess of the speed limit. If we had the roundabout we would be in business.
Claremorris local councillor Tom Connolly said it was “shameful” that no road safety measures had been implemented at the Lisduff junction despite a series of collisions over the years.
He added that children attending Gaelscoil Uileog de Búrca, which is north of the junction where Monday’s collision took place, were at risk of being hit by cars speeding on the N17.
“Lighting needs to be put up at the junction for people crossing at night and we need a roundabout or traffic lights to make sure the traffic slows down. It’s shameful when the NRA (National Roads Authority) won’t do something to protect the safety of the people.”
November 2015: In November 2015, Karen Powell from Cloosilla in Co Sligo died after the car she was driving was involved in a collision with a truck on a slip road off the N17. She was airlifted to University College Hospital Galway where she later died.
December 2014: A man in his 70s also lost his life on a slip road off the N17 in December 2014. Thomas Nally, a 73-year-old farmer who was on his way to Mass in Claremorris, was struck by a car while he was crossing the N17. An inquest into the death heard that Mr Nally was walking with a torch before he was hit by a car travelling from Galway.
August 2014: In August 2014, a young woman from the community of Taugheen near Claremorris lost her life in a road incident on the N17 about 30km north of the black spot near the Lisduff junction. Niamh Campbell (23) died after he car collided with a pillar near the entrance to Knock airport at another well-known black spot in Mayo.
November 2009: The National Road Authority was urged to take immediate action in November 2009 after four young students died in a collision between the car they were in and a truck at Carrownurlaur between Milltown and Ballindine.
Sarah Byrne (20) from Headford, Co Galway; Theresa Molloy (19) from Leitir Móir, Co Galway; Marie Stephanie Ní Conghaíle (19) from Baile na hAbhann, Co Galway; and Sorcha Rose McLoughlin (19) from Mulgannon, Co Wexford all died after their car collided with a truck in darkness and torrential rain. A fifth student, 21-year-old Michele O’Donnell, was seriously injured in the incident.
A number of vehicles were found to be driving over the limit on the N17 near Claremorris during a Garda and GoSafe speed check in October last year. One motorist was caught driving at 137 kmph in a 100km zone along the N17 at Castlemagarret in north Claremorris.
Road Safety Officer for Mayo Noel Gibbins warned many motorists still did not fully understand the danger of speeding and its contribution to road deaths in the country.
“You can’t have Gardaí or Go Safe vans on every road, so motorists need to be educated on the dangers of speeding,” Mr Gibbins told the Mayo News. “People need to realise that if they crash at these speeds, they are not going to walk away and they may take someone else’s life. Speed continues to be a huge contributing factor in roads deaths in this country. Drivers need to realise they are endangering lives and have to take responsibility for their actions.”