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flame of remembrance via Shutterstock

"The pain is forever": Wall of Remembrance recalls road victims

On today, World Remembrance Day, the Road Safety Authority is gathering memories of 23,405 loved ones killed on our roads over last 50 years.

AN EIGHT-YEAR-OLD boy, killed as he climbed down from his school bus; a loving husband who fell asleep at the wheel; a “beautiful, fun-loving couple” who died together in a terrible crash.

Today, World Remembrance Day for victims of road traffic collisions, these lost souls are among those being commemorated in an online memorial.

The Road Safety Authority has created a special space on this Facebook page for those bereaved by road incidents to share their memories of their lost or injured loved ones.

The stories are heartbreaking and poignant, telling tales of a father “remembered by us all whom you never saw grow up”, a 13-year-old “knocked off his bike by a drunken driver – 30 years ago but feels like 30 days”.

This snapshot shows the breadth of shared stories on the site:


via RSAIreland/Facebook

Sadly, the stories will be all too familiar to thousands of families around Ireland. The Road Safety Authority has published sobering statistics on the toll of road traffic collisions in this country:

  • 23,405 people have died on Irish roads since records began in 1959
  • A further 76,129 people received serious, life-changing injuries in the period 1977-2012
  • Already this year (by the start of this week), 165 families, friends and communities lost a loved one

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar this week made a striking comparison: the overall death toll on our roads since 1959 is roughly the same as the population of Tralee in Co Kerry. “Behind every tragedy lies a traumatised family and a shattered community,” he said.

The Garda Assistant Commissioner John Twomey asked that communities and individuals help as much as they can in the effort to stem road deaths and injuries. Today’s World Remembrance Day reminds us, he said, “that road safety is everyone’s responsiblity, every time you use the roads, so let’s all work together to share the roads responsibly”.

The RSA has run a high-profile campaign highlighting the terrible legacy road traffic crashes inflict on families, friends and society.

via RSA Ireland/Youtube

Chairman of the RSA, Gay Byrne, said that there is a sense sometimes, when we read reports of road incidents, that “it will never happen to me”. The reality, of course, is that it is and does. He said:

For thousands of families around the country, it has happened to them and now their lives are forever changed as a result. We can save lives on our roads, and we can make our roads as safe as the safest roads in the world, but we can’t do it unless we all work together and take responsibility for our behaviour on the roads.So let’s do this for the people who have died or been seriously injured on our roads, for our families, for our loved ones and for ourselves. Together, we can change lives.
  • If you would like to share a memory on the RSA Wall of Remembrance – or support those who have – click here.
  • Other events of remembrance and tribute are happening around Ireland for today’s World Remembrance Day. For details and locations, check RSA.ie here.
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