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Tuesday 24 January 2017

Priest pleads for danger signs at tragic crash bend

Tom Shiel

Published 14/12/2011 | 05:00

The coffins of Sandra Herbert and her daughter Rachel are carried from Christ the King Church in Knockmore, Mayo, yesterday
followed by a large crowd of mourners
The coffins of Sandra Herbert and her daughter Rachel are carried from Christ the King Church in Knockmore, Mayo, yesterday followed by a large crowd of mourners

A PRIEST has called for signposting and remedial works at a dangerous bend which claimed the lives of a mother and her teenage daughter at the weekend.

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Sandra Herbert (40) was driving her daughter Rachel (13) and three other teenage girls to a night organised at the local Foroige Club, when they hit a patch of black ice and their saloon car flipped over before landing in a stream last Friday night.

Fr Michael Flynn, parish priest of Knockmore, Ballina, Mayo, said that the spot where their car left the road can be slippery even in non-frosty conditions.

Temperatures locally were close to zero around 9pm on Friday night when the car driven by Mrs Herbert left the road at Rathbaun, Cloghans, ending upside down in a stream.

"The bend can be deceptive even when clear of frost," Fr Flynn told the large congregation at the double funeral Mass in Christ the King Church, Knockmore, yesterday afternoon.

Fr Flynn called on Mayo County Council and the Road Safety Authority to take action to make the road safer and erect warning signs.

Mrs Herbert -- who was a clerical officer for the RSA in Ballina -- and her daughter were pronounced dead at the scene.

A post-mortem examination confirmed that they died from drowning in the shallow stream.

Fr Flynn described the effect of the sudden double tragedy on the local community.

"One moment we were all very happy, the next we were plunged into darkness and despair," he said.

Mrs Herbert's husband James lead mourners at the church and was joined in the front pews by his sons, Darragh and Ryan.

In a brief address, Mr Herbert thanked the community for their enormous support over the last few days.

With deep sadness in his voice, he mentioned that Rachel would have celebrated her 14th birthday on Sunday night and a disco was planned.

The teenage girls who were seated in the back of the car and managed to escape and raise the alarm were also at the Mass yesterday.

Fr Flynn said the girls had endured "a frightening ordeal" and commended them for their actions afterwards in raising the alarm.

Ten concelebrants joined Fr Flynn on the altar for the funeral Mass.

The Church of Ireland was represented at the ceremony by Rev Andrea Wills.

The RSA representation included its chief executive Noel Brett.

In the early afternoon, amid sleet, hail and gusting winds, the double funeral cortege made its way to Ballinahaglish Cemetery where the remains were buried.

Irish Independent

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