Mother tells remembrance Mass sons’ deaths a ‘life sentence’

A mother who lost two sons in a car crash in East Cork has appealed to motorists to take care on the roads in the run-up to Christmas in order to prevent other families from experiencing the “life sentence” of losing a child.

Dave Kirby, 18, and brother Paul, 20, died in Apr 2005 after their car was involved in a collision on the Midleton-Cloyne road.

Speaking after a Mass to mark World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic victims at the Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne in Cork yesterday, Kathleen Kirby told of the acute sense of loss she feels at this time of year.

“It is one of the hardest times of the year,” said Ms Kirby. “The empty table or, in my case, the two empty chairs. Last year was the first time I cooked a Christmas dinner since the boys died. It is a nightmare.

“People are hopping in to the car and they are not thinking. A lot of accidents happen on roads you are most familiar with. My two boys were just a mile and a half away from home.”

Ms Kirby called on young men in particular to realise that they are not invincible.

“People think ‘that won’t happen to me’,” she said. “It could happen to you. The pain I am going through, I wouldn’t like anyone to go through it.

Basically, it is a life sentence. I wake up every morning and I think of my boys. Dave would have been 26 on the 6th of November just gone.”

Yesterday’s Mass was attended by families who lost their loved ones in crashes, in addition to members of the Garda Traffic Corp in Cork, ambulance and fire brigade personnel, RSA representatives, road crash survivors, and representatives from city hospitals.

A candle was lit in memory of all those who died on Irish roads in 2012. So far this year, 18 people have lost their lives in road traffic accidents in Cork.

Since road deaths were first officially recorded in 1959, 23,224 people have been killed on Irish roads.

The day of remembrance, first held in 1993 in the UK, was begun as a way to give recognition to victims of road traffic crashes, and the plight of their loved ones.

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