Taoiseach extends his sympathies to families of crash victims from NY


TAOISEACH BRIAN Cowen has extended his sympathies to the families of the eight men who died in a two-car crash in Co Donegal on Sunday night.

Speaking in New York, Mr Cowen said his thoughts and prayers were with the relatives of the deceased.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of these deaths and I want to extend my sincere sympathies to everyone who lost loved ones. Each death on our roads is tragic and brings untold suffering to families, friends and the entire community. Our road deaths have been cut by half over the past decade but that is of no consolation to the loved ones of those who have died this weekend. We must continue with our efforts to improve road safety and everyone needs to be vigilant on our roads. Today, my thoughts and prayers are with the families who are having to cope with such devastating news.” Mr Cowen also expressed condolences to those who had lost loved ones in road crashes in other counties in recent days.

Fine Gael TD for Donegal North East Joe McHugh described the incident on the Buncrana to Clonmany road as a “nightmare” for the people of Inishowen. Mr McHugh said Inishowen was an extremely “closely knit” community, and said almost everyone would have some connection to at least one of the victims.

“This is a terrible day for Donegal, and I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the families involved. The people of Inishowen are waking up to another nightmare with the news of these eight deaths. As the news filtered through on this accident from my colleagues and constituents throughout Inishowen, the number involved was too hard to take in.”

The Labour Party’s spokesman on transport Joe Costello also extended sympathies to the families of those who died, describing the incident as a “tragedy of immense proportions”.

Mr Costello said it was clear more needed to be done to improve road safety and prevent fatalities. “The question as to how it arose that eight men were travelling in one vehicle, equipped with perhaps four or five seat belts will, I’m sure, be among the issues investigated by gardaí. If this proves to have been a factor, it may well be time to look at tightening up the law, to prevent overcrowding like this.”

Donegal North-East TD Jim McDaid said Donegal had “more than its fair share of tragedy” on the roads. He said everyone felt for the distraught families, as well as members of the emergency services who had attended the scene.