Friday 30 September 2016

'Your heart breaks another little bit for every family you read about' - Mothers of road crash victims share horror at recent carnage

Cathal McMahon

Published 13/09/2016 | 12:40

Gillian Treacy (Left) her son Ciaran (top) Donna Price (Right) and son Darren (Bottom)
Gillian Treacy (Left) her son Ciaran (top) Donna Price (Right) and son Darren (Bottom)

Two mothers who lost their sons in separate road crashes have pleaded with motorists to slow down, get off your phones and never drink drive.

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Following a week of carnage on Irish roads Donna Price and Gillian Treacy have come together to share their nightmare stories.

In total, 129 people have died in road traffic collisions this year, in comparison to 110 during the same period in 2015.

And September is already shaping up to be one of the worst months yet with 10 people dying in the first 12 days.

Gillian Treacy was returning home to Portarlington with her son Ciaran (4)
Gillian Treacy was returning home to Portarlington with her son Ciaran (4)

The recent carnage is all too familiar for Laois mother Gillian Treacy whose son Ciaran (4) died when the car they were travelling in was struck by a drink driver in April 2014.

She told Independent.ie that she was left bereft again last week when she read repeated stories about deaths on Irish roads over the last ten days.

A family picture of Ciaran Treacy
A family picture of Ciaran Treacy

“It hits hard,” she said. “Unfortunately if you experience first hand a tragedy like this it becomes all the more real when you read about it happening to someone ele.

“I was so upset when I read the story about the mother [Nicola Kenny] who died after her baby had just been born.

Nicola Kenny. Photo: Family Handout/PA Wire
Nicola Kenny. Photo: Family Handout/PA Wire

“We know what's ahead of them, all the stages of loss, grief, anger, frustration, everything.”

Gillian suffered two fractured ankles, a compound fracture to her left leg, a fractured pelvis & hip, a fractured elbow and sternum, but she explained that the worst injury was the pain which came from her broken heart.

"We buy the paper every day and keep a track on these things," said Gillian. "Your heart breaks another little bit for every family you read about."

Gillian and her husband Ronan said they had gone through hell and back since little Ciaran died.

Travelling salesman Finbarr O'Rourke was jailed for seven and a half years for dangerous driving causing the death of Ciaran at Ballymorris, Portlaoise on April 17, 2014.

Gillian, who suffered long-term injuries in the crash, said that she is now back driving but the actions of fellow drivers leave her frustrated and angry.

"I see people on their mobile phones while driving down the motorway. I see people driving too fast, there are horrendous things happening on the road. If people only knew the pain and the suffering that a death leaves with a family."

Donna Price echoed Gillian's comments. Ms Price, from Mullingar, Co Westmeath, founded the Irish Road Victims' Association (IRVA) after her son Darren (18) was killed in a collision in 2006.

Donna Price
Donna Price

Inter-county footballer Darren was killed on his way to college in Athlone when his Fiat Punto collided with an articulated lorry outside Tyrrellspass, Westmeath.

She has been watching the number of road deaths creeping up each year and she said this is connected to a decrease in visible policing on the roads.

"It's absolutely horrific, it's almost one a day again," she said. "Every time we read another story it re-traumatises us."

Darren Price
Darren Price

Donna said that drivers are now taking more chances because she claims there is not enough enforcement on the road.

"People are taking chances because there is a perception that there is little chance of being caught. They are undertaking, tailgating, talking on their phones.

"People have no clue how simply an accident can happen."

She said: "I would urge drivers to please think about the consequences of their actions because there is no turning back the clock."

The circumstances of each road death is different but both women insist that the tragedy is the same.

Road Crash Victims
Road Crash Victims

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