Total of 12 people killed on roads in just five days Motorists urged to slow down over holiday weekend

With 12 people dead in road smashes in the last five days, five of them in the space of just 24 hours in Donegal, the Road Safety Authority has appealed to motorists to take care over the bank holiday weekend so as not to add to the road carnage.

Moya Murdock, RSA chief executive, said: “12 deaths is an appalling loss of life and our thoughts are with all of the 106 families who have been left grieving the loss of a loved one to date this year. These deaths should serve as a reminder to us all that using the road is the most dangerous thing we do each day. All it takes is a split second for tragedy to strike.”

Four of the five people killed in two separate crashes in Co Donegal in a 24-hour period were not wearing seatbelts.

The two crashes, which happened within just a few short miles of each other, claimed the lives of five young people, aged between 19 and 28.

Yesterday’s crash between two cars containing two sets of friends happened just 20 hours after two young men were killed on the dual carriageway on the outskirts of Letterkenny at 4.45am on Wednesday morning.

The names of Dermot Boyle, 19, and Barney McGinley, 28, had just been made public when word of another shocking crash began to filter through.

The three friends, named locally as Steven McGrath, 19, Teresa Robinson, 20, and Kaylem Ó Murachaidh, were killed instantly when the two cars crashed on a back road between Letterkenny and Drumkeen at Trentaboy at 1am yesterday morning.

A Garda source confirmed that at least four of the five killed were not wearing safety belts.

Yesterday’s horrific scene was discovered by a passing motorist.

The scene of the tragic accident in Donegal. Pic: North West Newspix.
The scene of the tragic accident in Donegal. Pic: North West Newspix.

Another passenger in one of the cars was taken from the scene by the emergency services and is in a serious condition at Letterkenny University Hospital.

The crash, which was close to Coravaddy Woods, a popular walking spot, was the second fatal car accident in the area within 24 hours. Friends Barney McGinley, 28, and Dermot Boyle, 19, perished the previous morning when the car in which they were travelling struck a van on the dual carriageway outside Letterkenny.

Garda are still trying to determine why the men were driving on the wrong side of the road when they struck the Renault van at 4.45am. An investigation is also trying to determine if a robbery at Rosie’s Bar in Drumkeen a short time earlier was connected.

The Garda Ombudsman has confirmed they are investigating Garda “interaction” with the car in which the two men died.

However, it is not believed that gardaí were involved in a pursuit with the men’s grey Mitsubishi Charisma but merely did a U-turn after passing them to respond to another call.

The men may have thought they were being followed and increased their speed and ended up on the wrong side of the dual carriageway before colliding head-on with the driver of the Renault van. The driver is still in hospital having suffered numerous injuries.

Head of the Donegal Traffic Corps, Inspector Michael Harrison, for the second day in a row, appealed for information to yet another fatal collision: “We want to hear from anybody who was in the area or may have used this backroad from Letterkenny to Drumkeen and on to Ballybofey last night.

"People have come forward but we would appeal to anybody who may know anything about the crash, no matter how insignificant they think it is, to come forward.”

Motorists urges to slow down as Donegal mourns five road victims

He also stressed that the three biggest factors in the loss of life or causing serious harm in Donegal are speeding; people not wearing seatbelts; and drink-driving.

There has been a huge outpouring of grief across Donegal following the deaths of the five young people.

The three who perished in yesterday’s crash were all friends.

Steven McGrath was a well known young sportsman who played underage hurling for Donegal.

Teresa Marie Robinson, a mother of two little boys Dara and Dylan, was due to celebrate her 21st birthday tomorrow .

She had recently moved into a new house and was starting a new education course. In recent days she wrote on her Facebook page “Roll on the good times.”

Their friend Kaylem Ó Murachaidh, was originally from Dundalk but had lived in Cloghan in Co Donegal.

Motorists urges to slow down as Donegal mourns five road victims

And just a couple of hours after yesterday’s Donegal smash, a 26-year-old man died after the car in which he was travelling alone in collided with a concrete barrier in Gurtymadden Co Galway at around 2.45am.

He was seriously injured and taken to University College Hospital Galway but was later pronounced dead.

So far this year, 106 people have been killed on Irish roads, which include 50 drivers, 23 passengers, 16 pedestrians, 11 motorcyclists, one pillion passenger and five cyclists, compared to 89 for the same period in 2015.


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