Ireland's motorists urged to be careful following deadly week

Gardaí and the AA appeal to drivers to exercise caution ahead of bank holiday

Gardaí and the AA have appealed for motorists to exercise caution this bank holiday weekend following one of the deadliest weeks on Irish roads in recent memory.

A total of 12 people have lost their lives on Irish roads since last Sunday.

Mother-of-two Anne Carson (56), a care worker from north Belfast, died after the motorbike which she was a passenger on collided with a car on the N16 Sligo to Manorhamilton road near Drumkinsellagh, Co Sligo, on Sunday afternoon.

Tina Kelly, who was in her 30s, and her 14-year-old son Joey died after the car they were travelling in struck a tree at Ballaghlea, Ballygar, Co Galway, at 9.45pm on Sunday.


The following day, Mark Byrne (38) was killed when his 4X4 vehicle crashed into a ditch at Ladychapel, Maynooth, Co Kildare, at approximately 3.15pm.

On Tuesday, Shane Fleming (42), from Celbridge, Co Kildare, was fatally injured when his car collided with a second car on the R152 Dunboyne to Maynooth Road at Castlefarm, near Dunboyne, Co Meath.

Hours later, a head-on collision between a car and a lorry resulted in the death of Michael Naughton (24), of Balraheen, Maynooth.

The incident occurred on the road between Kilcock and Clane in Co Kildare.

At 4.45am on Wednesday, Dermot Boyle (19) and Barney McGinley (28) were killed when the car in which they were travelling struck a van on the dual carriageway outside Letterkenny, Co Donegal.

Their car had been driving on the wrong side of the road.

Three friends – Steven McGrath (19), Theresa Robinson (20) and Kaylem Ó Murachaidh (19) – were killed in a head-on collision between two cars on a back road in Co Donegal at 1am on Thursday.

Galway crash

Tony Rice (26), a musician, was also killed on Thursday when his car hit a concrete barrier.

The incident happened at about 2.45am on the Loughrea to Killimor Road (N65), near Killimor, Co Galway.

With thousands of people expected to take to the roads this weekend, the AA issued a warning to motorists not to drink and drive.

"It's hard to believe that even in today's backdrop of horror story after horror story playing out on our screens and newspapers, many motorists are still prepared to put their and others' lives in grave danger," said AA director of consumer affairs Conor Faughnan.

“Alcohol has regularly been a contributing factor to fatal accidents on our roads, and drivers and passengers alike owe it to themselves and other road users to not turn a blind eye or allow convenience overrule their good sense,” he added.

Chief Supt Aidan Reid said the force had carried out 201 alcohol checkpoints and 738 breath tests from July 27th to July 28th and that it was clear some people had "failed to listen or heed our warning".

“This is evident as 35 persons have been detected for drink-driving in the last few days,” he said.

“While these high-visibility checkpoints act as a deterrent, we urge drivers to take personal responsibility for their actions and never, ever drink and drive.

“We also urge all passengers to never allow themselves to be carried in a car where the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter