Families pay poignant tribute to road victims
ROAD safety chairman Gay Byrne urged people to take even a second to remember the lives lost on Irish roads yesterday as he warned that a second was all it took for families to be changed forever.
Many family members and friends of victims of road crashes brought with them photographs of their lost loved ones, lit candles or released balloons at a ceremony to mark World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims at the St Thomas the Apostle Church in Castleknock, Dublin.
The broadcaster and chairman of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) urged people to think about their behaviour behind the wheel on the roads to help avoid needless carnage.
"All it takes is a split second for lives to be changed forever," Mr Byrne warned.
More than 23,000 people have died on the roads since records first began in 1959.
So far this year 168 people have lost their lives, which is 29 fewer than in the same period last year.
Donna Price, from the PARC Road Safety Group, which staged the ceremony at Laurel Lodge along with gardai and emergency services, said many road victims are left needing lifelong support due to serious injuries.
Ms Price's son, Darren (18), lost his life in a road accident as he drove to his first-year engineering course at Athlone Institute of Technology in March 2006.
"Anyone who has lost a loved one on the roads will known that you live with your memories and grief every day of the year," Ms Price said.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said that behind every tragedy on the road, there was a family left devastated and a community shattered.
Events also took place in Donegal, where eight lives were lost last year in a single collision, and in Louth, Waterford, Westmeath and at Knock Shrine in Co Mayo.
A minute's silence for road traffic victims also took place at Masses throughout Carlow and Meath.