Coroner calls for action on rate of Polish road deaths

A CORONER is worried that too many Polish nationals are perishing on Ireland’s roads in drink-driving accidents.

At an inquest yesterday, Cork county coroner Frank O’Connell said Poles accounted for too many road deaths. He wants to meet Polish community representatives to discuss alcohol abuse and driving.

His comments came after an inquest in Macroom, Co Cork, heard a Polish man was three times over the limit when he died in an accident in June. Stanislaw Domagala, 49, of The Bungalow, Ballymakeera West, died after the car he was driving crashed into a ditch on the Clondrohid to Ballyvourney road. He was a married father of two, the hearing was told.

Mr O’Connell also asked for road safety advertisements to be in Polish so the safety message was heeded by newcomers from eastern Europe.

Gardaí welcomed Mr O’Connell’s move and said the issue had been aired with the Polish community.

Officers said they had issued translated copies of the Rules of the Road, which is a basic book outlining the dos and don’ts of the highway.

Last year the Government issued road safety leaflets in nine different languages to slash the toll of non-nationals dying on the country’s roads.

Among the languages for the road safety pamphlets were Polish, Chinese, Russian, Latvian, Portuguese and Arabic.

EU research last year revealed Poland, Latvia and Lithuania have the worst road accident death rates of any of the countries in the bloc.

The death rate in Latvia equates to 840 people per million cars — four times the EU average of 210.

The death rate in Ireland is almost a quarter of that, at about 220 deaths per million cars.

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