Elber Twomey has been invited to the Garda Training College in Templemore next month to speak to senior officers in hope of setting up courses in suicide awareness/prevention training which may ultimately form part of the force’s primary in-service programme.
The initiative is being supported by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald who held a 20-minute meeting with Ms Twomey in Dublin last Wednesday.
Ms Twomey lost husband Connie, son Oisín, and unborn daughter Elber Marie, during a family holiday to Devon in 2012, when Polish taxi driver Marek Wojciechowski deliberately drove across the road into their car.
Mr Twomey died of his injuries last year after 10 months in Cork University Hospital.
Shortly after the accident Ms Twomey, who is from Meelin, Co Cork, started to research best practice in police procedure for potentially suicidal drivers.
She found that training was given to police in South Australia and in certain states in the US, but there was nothing available to police forces on either side of the Irish Sea.
Ms Fitzgerald said she was supportive of Ms Twomey’s campaign for training in mental health issues and would facilitate her visit to Templemore.
Ms Twomey said the move was a source of comfort to her.
“I wouldn’t wish my life on anybody else. If we can save one life it would be worth it,” she said. “It also would help the gardaí to cope in dealing with such stressful situations.”
The meeting was facilitated by TDs Áine Collins and Dan Neville who attended along with Ms Twomey’s brother, Tomás.
“I admire Elber so much after what she’s been through that she’s trying to prevent such tragedies happening again. She’s dedicating her life to this research,” said Ms Collins.
Ms Twomey said she hoped the gardaí would adopt a programme and British police forces would then follow.
She also revealed that she hopes that nearly €80,000 will be raised from fundraisers in memory of her family.
It is planned to distribute the money in the next couple of months to suicide charities.