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Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 14 April 2021
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'We need to remember that there are real lives, real families behind these statistics'

23,949 people have died on Irish roads since records began in 1959.

VICTIMS OF ROAD traffic collisions will be remembered at masses and ceremonies all over the country tomorrow.

23,949 people have died on Irish roads since records began in 1959. Already this year, over 160 families and communities have lost a loved one.

In Dublin, the main event of this year’s World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims will be at St Michan’s Church in Dublin 7, where family members and emergency services staff will attend a special mass at midday.

In Cork, the PARC Road Safety Group, which was set up by family members of people who lost their lives in crashes, will hold a ceremony at Loreto Sports Hall in Fermoy in Cork tomorrow afternoon.

Events are also planned for Limerick, Galway and at other locations around the country and a full list is available at the Road Safety Authority website. 

“When we read reports of the numbers of people who are killed or injured on our roads, we need to remember that there are real lives, real families and real communities behind these statistics,” Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson of the Road Safety Authority, said.

For thousands of families around the country, their lives are forever changed as a result of a collision.
It’s not enough to just keep these people in our hopes and prayers once a year, rather we must all commit to work together and take responsibility for our behaviour on the roads, and create real change, out of respect for their memories.

Members of PARC have also been highlighting the importance of keeping loved ones of those killed in crashes informed and up-to-date with the investigation process.

The group, made up of volunteers from around the country, has been producing a guide for family members of those killed or seriously injured in crashes since 2012.

The latest version, which has been updated in the wake of Garda Commissioner Noirín O Sullivan’s decision to waive the controversial documentation fees charged to families of victims, will be launched at PARC’s Cork event tomorrow.

‘Finding Your Way’ 

Ann Fogarty, whose husband was killed in a crash in 2001 as they were travelling through south Co Dublin, has been volunteering with PARC and helping families as they work with authorities and attend hearings in the wake of life-altering tragedies like the one she endured.

Ann suffered severe injuries in the crash and had a long road to recovery.

“I just found I was excluded from the case completely. I really didn’t understand anything of what went on,” Ann told TheJournal.ie, saying her experience and that of the families she’d spoken to underscored the need for their ‘Finding Your Way’ guide.

Now I was struggling with injuries as well as bereavement. My brain just didn’t work at all – didn’t retain anything.
I didn’t know what was going on around me and I didn’t understand the process. And I didn’t even understand it when it was all over never mind when it began.

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ann1 Ann Fogarty (centre) of Parc Road Safety. Source: TheJournal.ie

Authorities need to do more to engage with family members in such situations and take account of what they’re going through, she said.

The booklet, which can be downloaded from PARC’s website, contains straightforward information on a range of subjects – covering everything from the immediate aftermath of a serious or fatal road crash, to paperwork, post-mortems, inquests and criminal trials.

‘Wall of Remembrance’ 

For people who can’t get along to any of tomorrow’s events, the Road Safety Authority will have an online ‘Wall of Remembrance’ on its Facebook page where people can share their memories.

Read: Gardaí to waive report fees for families of road crash victims >

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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