38,519: NUMBER OF PEOPLE KILLED ON ROADS NORTH & SOUTH SINCE RECORDS BEGAN

10 November 2015: The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, the Environment Minister in Northern Ireland, Mark Durcan, the Road Safety Authority (RSA), An Garda Síochána, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Fire & Rescue Services, Local Authorities and road safety groups are calling on road-users throughout the island of Ireland to join the international community to mark World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims on Sunday 15th November 2015.

A total of 23,752 people have been killed on roads in the Republic of Ireland since records began in 1959. 14,767 people have been killed on roads in Northern Ireland since deaths were first recorded in 1931.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe welcomed the fact that people both north and south were coming together to remember all the lives lost on the island’s roads.

“Many lives have been saved and injuries prevented as a result of the collaborative work by road safety agencies on both sides of the border in recent years so it is fitting that we should come together on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims’ to remember those who have tragically died on the road and to also think of their families. I would also like to acknowledge the great work done by those in the Emergency Services and medical professionals, on both sides of the boarder, who have to deal with the aftermath and consequences of collisions. We will be thinking of them too on Sunday and the life-saving work that they do.”

NI Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan said:

“Many generations and thousands of families in the North, including my own, have been devastated by the grief of loss and the heartache of road tragedy.  Almost 15,000 people, just like you and me, have lost their lives. And this is why I am working along with my road safety partners – the PSNI, the NI Fire and Rescue Service and the NI Ambulance Service amongst others – towards reducing the carnage on our roads.  We must do everything possible to prevent this loss and suffering touching any more lives.”

“Road safety is a continuous challenge and road deaths do not discriminate.  All road users are vulnerable – every journey, every day, every road.  The certainty of the unexpected means that it is crucial to reduce speed, wear seatbelts and eliminate high risk behaviours. I am fully committed to improving safety for all road users. I firmly believe that by working together, we can rise to the challenge of making our roads safer for everyone.”

Minister Durkan concluded:

“I therefore encourage that all road users commit to be the best road user they can be by pledging at www.sharetheroadtozero.com

Ms Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson of the Road Safety Authority said:

“We are delighted to team up with our colleagues in Northern Ireland to raise awareness of this very important day. In addition to those who have lost their lives thousands more have suffered serious, life-changing injuries.  World Day of Remembrance’ reminds us how easily tragedy can happen but by making small changes to our behaviour on the roads, we can all help to prevent future tragedy. Never underestimate the role we as individuals can play in saving lives, each and every time we use the roads. Let’s all work together to share the roads responsibly.”

Chief Superintendent Mark Curran of the Garda National Traffic Bureau said:

“This Sunday gives us all an opportunity to reflect on our behaviour on the roads. An Garda Síochána is committed to working with communities and organisations to make every effort to keep our roads free from tragedy, but our biggest enemy is complacency. What someone might perceive as a small risk could have catastrophic consequences for someone else, so we would urge everyone to look at their actions on the roads and make every effort to be a better, safer driver.”

Police Service of Northern Ireland, Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said:

“Sadly, too often our officers have to go to the homes of families and relay the devastating news that one of their loved ones have been killed or seriously injured on our roads. Unfortunately so far this year 61 people have been killed on our roads across Northern Ireland.  Behind each of these statistics are family and friends who have been affected and we must remember them.  This Sunday provides us with an opportunity to remember all those people who have lost their lives on our roads. Our thoughts are with all their family members and friends not just today, but throughout the year.”

The Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, which was first held in 1993 in the United Kingdom and organised since then by non-governmental organizations in a number of countries, was created as a means to give recognition to victims of road traffic crashes and the plight of their loved ones who must cope with the emotional and practical consequences of these events.

On 26 October 2005, the United Nations adopted a resolution which calls for governments to mark the third Sunday in November each year as World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. Observation of this day provides an opportunity to draw the public’s attention to road traffic crashes, their consequences and costs, and the measures which can be taken to prevent them. The day also provides an opportunity to remind governments and society of their responsibility to make roads safer.

The RSA, along with members of An Garda Síochána, Road Safety Officers in Local Authorities, the Emergency Services and road safety support groups have organised masses, services and commemorative events around the country this Sunday to remember the lives that have been lost and changed forever on our roads. A full list of the events is available on www.rsa.ie

In addition, the RSA is asking people to change their social media profile picture to add the ‘World Day of Remembrance’ candle. People are also being invited to write the name of a loved one on the RSA’s ‘Wall of Remembrance’ on its Facebook page www.facebook.com/RSAireland. The Wall of Remembrance is a place for people to come and share their memories, to light a candle and leave a memorial message for a loved one who has been killed or seriously injured on our roads.

For further information, please contact:

RSA Communications Office: 096 25008

A little more information about the day:-

At the launch today were Seán Dixon, Maggie Bonner and her boyfriend Michael Jackson who have all been impacted by the devastation of road collisions.

In 2011, Sean Dixon sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury as a result of a collision when he was a passenger on board a motorbike. The injury has affected Sean’s short term memory and resulted in the end of his career in the Irish Defence Forces. In June 2014, Frankie Bonner (65) from Ballycastle, Co Mayo died when he was knocked down by his daughter Maggie’s boyfriend. Michael Jackson was left devastated when he realised he had driven over his girlfriend’s father. Since then, he and Maggie have supported campaigns to raise awareness of pedestrian safety.

The following activities will mark ‘World Day of Remembrance’ around Ireland:

  • Cork: A mass will take place in Cork City in the Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne, Roman Street (Shandon) at 11.30am. It will be attended by personnel from the emergency services
  • Donegal: A special memorial service will take place in St Eunan’s Cathedral, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal at 12 noon
  • Donegal: Road Traffic victims will be remembered at St Patrick’s Church in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal at 11am mass. If you would like to have a candle lit for a relative or friend please contact the parish office at 071-9851295. There will be a special blessing of the Emergency Services and cars will be blessed after all masses that weekend
  • Dublin: A special memorial service will take place in St Finian’s Lutheran Church, 23 Adelaide Road, Ranelagh, Dublin 2 at 3:30pm
  • Galway: A special commemoration to remember all road traffic victims will take place in the Salthill Hotel, Galway at 2pm. As part of the ceremony you are invited to bring a framed photograph of your lost loved one.  If you would like to participate on the day please contact Catherine by email cflaherty@rsa.ie or by phone 087-2027034
  • Kerry: A special memorial mass is taking place in St. Mary’s Cathedral, New Street, Killarney at 12pm mid-day
  • Kerry: A special mass for road victims will take place at 9am in St Mary’s Church, Listowel
  • Louth: A special memorial mass is taking place at 1.15pm in the Augustinian Church , Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Mayo; A service will take place in Knock at 12 noon for road traffic victims and to honour the work of the emergency services. Download the poster here  A walk of remembrance will take place in Achill at 3pm on Sunday the 15th of November. Meeting point Ted Lavelle’s Filling Station, Cashel. All welcome
  • Tipperary: PARC Road Safety Group are organising a Special Ceremony to remember all those affected by road traffic collisions which will take place in the Presentation Secondary School, Clonmel, Tipperary at 2.30pm. Everyone welcome. Theme: Celebrating the lives of our lost loved ones. For further details please contact Susan Gray at 086-3773784. You can download ‘Finding Your Way’, A guide for families of victims following the death or serious injury of a loved one in a road traffic collision.
  • Tipperary: There will be Rosary in The Garden of Remembrance, Ballynonty, Thurles, Co. Tipperary on Sunday 15th November at 3pm.
  • Westmeath: The Irish Road Victims Association (IRVA) are hosting a memorial service for Road Traffic Victims in the Bloomfield House Hotel, Mullingar at 2pm. We invite you to take a framed photo of your lost loved one with you. Please see here for a poster of the event.

A local radio advertising campaign will also be on air next week to remind people to remember the victims of road collisions.