Investigation under way after graphic crash images circulated

Images shared online reflect ‘dark side of human nature’

The scene of a fatal crash on the M50 on Thursday. Photograpoh: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

The scene of a fatal crash on the M50 on Thursday. Photograpoh: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

 

Those responsible for videoing and photographing the immediate aftermath of an M50 crash in which a woman in her 30s was killed on Thursday morning could face prosecution either for using their mobile phones while driving or for unnecessarily and illegally stopping on a motorway.

Not long after the fatal collision in which Jackie Griffin from Tallaght was killed graphic pictures and video which had taken at the scene of the incident started appearing on various social media platforms.

Gardai were forced to issue an appeal asking to people to stop sharing the images and on Friday evening a spokeswoman confirmed that an examining CCTV footage in relation to the crash was under way.

Garai were, she said, “checking in relation to vehicles that may have stopped on the M50 unnecessarily when Gardaí were dealing with the crash”.

Investigating officers are also “checking in relation to any motorists who may have been driving their vehicle past the scene and holding a phone and filming, or taking photographs of the scene”.

A Garda spokeswoman reiterated its appeal to the public “to refrain from sharing the images that are being circulated on social media in relation to this collision and be conscious that it affects family and friends of the deceased and all persons involved in the collision”.

Members of the public taking pictures of serious car crashes and sharing them on social media display “the dark side of human nature”, the AA’s director of consumer affairs Conor Faughnan has said adding that he did not know “if we can ever fix that through legislation”.

While so-called “rubber-necking” - traffic slowing to allow passengers look at the aftermath of crashes - has long been a feature of life on Ireland’s roads, Mr Faughnan acknowledged the new phenomenon of people taking pictures and video on mobile phones.

Senator Lynn Ruane, in a Twitter post on Thursday night, said: “My friend has lost his sister and the last thing his family need right now is an image of the accident. Thank you in advance.”

While Ms Ruane did not specify what accident she was referring to, she copied a statement that said “the loss of a loved one so sudden is traumatic enough without the added trauma of an image”.

Gardaí had tweeted that motorists were “slowing down unnecessarily while passing the scene” and causing delays.

Several posts to Twitter commented on the egregious nature of the circulated images.

The fatal collision occurred at about 11.30am on the slip road at Junction 5, Finglas and Ms Griffin was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later while the driver of a second car, a man in his 50s, was taken to Connolly hospital.

In total, three people died in crashes on Thursday.

An 80-year-old woman was killed in a collision between two vehicles at Kilrickle, Loughrea, Co Galway at about 9am. She was taken to Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe where she died a short time later.

The other passengers suffered minor injuries and were taken to Portiuncula Hospital.

Meanwhile, on the Dublin Road in Monasterevin, Co Kildare, a male pedestrian in his 40s was hit by a 4x4 vehicle just before 7pm. He was treated at the scene by emergency services but died a short time later.