Service remembers 24,000 killed on Irish roads to since records began

Public offices to light up tonight for World Remembrance Day for road traffic victims

 Elizebeth Hyland lights a  candle  at St Francis of Assisi Church in  Coolock to remember her grandson Paul McCormack,  who died in a road accident  in 2015 when he was  16 years old. Photograph: Tom Honan

Elizebeth Hyland lights a candle at St Francis of Assisi Church in Coolock to remember her grandson Paul McCormack, who died in a road accident in 2015 when he was 16 years old. Photograph: Tom Honan

 

Loved ones of some of those killed and injured on the State’s roads joined members of the clergy, gardaí and emergency services on Sunday, in a number of ceremonies to mark UN World day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

About 150 family members of of those killed since records began in 1959 brought photographs of the deceased, lit candles and hung their loved ones’ names from a tree, in a moving ceremony at St Francis of Assisi Church, Priorswood, in north Dublin.

Fr Bryan Shorthall said the congregation were members of a unique community, united by experience and grief, who were learning the importance of solidarity “and how important it is that we can support one another”.

He recalled the death of a 15-year-old girl, a fifth year student in Coolmine Community School, on the roads some years ago and the sense of tragedy, bereavement and loss felt by the entire school as a result.

Chief Supt John Gordon represented the Garda, Dublin Fire Brigade was represented by district officer Martin O’Reilly and the HSE Ambulance Service was represented by north Leinster and Dublin ambulance officer Fergus Murray.

As the service closed, Ciara Murray of the OLV Gospel Choir Glasnevin sang Angels by Liam Lawton, as family members gathered to light candles in memory of those they had lost.

After the service, Kathleen and Jason Doyle, who attended with their children, said the service was very special as she lost a brother to a road traffic accident in 1993, when he was just 10 years old.

Ms Doyle, who was herself just a teenager at the time of her brother’s death, had been driving the car in which he lost his life. She herself has suffered only scratches.

Martin Stokes from Priorswood said he was there in memory of his cousin Martin O’Donnell, who was killed in Finglas in 2010. Mr Stokes said he attended the church most Sundays and had found the remembrance service quite emotional.

Monica Wakefield from Donaghmede said she had lost a two-year-old sister to a road traffic incident “probably before the records began”.

As of November 15th, 24,663 people have died on the State’s roads roads since records began in 1959. Since 1977, when records began, 84,977 people have been seriously injured, according to the Road Safety Authority.

The authority last week held a special event in the Museum of Modern Literature in Dublin for family members of those who were killed and those who have been seriously injured. The event is available to view on the RSA Facebook page.

On Sunday night, local authority buildings across the State will be lit up as part of the commemoration and property owners have been asked to place a light of remembrance in their windows from 7pm.