News Irish News

Tuesday 22 August 2017

'There's no Santy letter there for Ciaran' - Parents of boy (4) killed by drink driver react to new RSA anti-drink driving ad

Gillian and Ronan Treacy have relived the horrific moment they lost their son Ciaran (pictured right)
Gillian and Ronan Treacy have relived the horrific moment they lost their son Ciaran (pictured right)
Gillian and Ronan Treacy at the launch of the RSA Anti-Drink Driving Campaign in Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Their four-year-old son Ciaran, who was killed by a drunk driver. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Chai Brady

Grieving parents whose four-year-old son was killed in a crash with a drunk driver have spoken of the unseen "heartache" they feel at Christmas.

Gillian and Ronan Treacy have relived the horrific moment they lost their son Ciaran two years ago in a new Road Safety Authority (RSA) video.

The video has been released as part of the joint RSA and An Garda Síochána Christmas and New Year Anti-Drink Driving Campaign.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mrs Treacy spoke of her surviving children Sean (10) and Caoimhe (4), who are now writing their letters to Santa.

She said: "They're doing really well, but again it's very tough.

"They're writing their Santy letters at the minute and there's no third letter there for Ciaran.

Gillian and Ronan Treacy at the launch of the RSA Anti-Drink Driving Campaign in Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Gillian and Ronan Treacy at the launch of the RSA Anti-Drink Driving Campaign in Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

"They're including him in their letters to make sure Ciaran gets his presents.

"They are the things people don't see and realise the heartache behind the door."

Finbar O'Rourke drank up to 10 pints of cider before ploughing into the family's car.

He was handed a seven and a half year sentence for dangerous driving causing death.

Their four-year-old son Ciaran, who was killed by a drunk driver. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Their four-year-old son Ciaran, who was killed by a drunk driver. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Mrs Treacy said that harsher sentences need to be put in place for drink drivers.

Several people involved in the incident featured in the RSA's video, including the ICU nurse Patrice O'Connell who said: "We deal with tragedy every day. This was different. I just couldn't stop crying when I left work that night."

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

Greg Donagher, a fire fighter who assisted at the scene, said: "We knew when we turned the corner that it was serious, there was bits of cars and people everywhere."

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and Transport Minister Shane Ross both attended the event and spoke out against driving under the influence on Irish roads.

Liz O'Donnell, chairperson for the RSA, said: "Drink driving is still a huge problem in our society - 286 people were killed on our roads in the five years between 2008 and 2012 because of alcohol and it's going on.

"Many more, of course, were seriously injured and that's something we really can't forget."

The RSA has been given access to Garda toxicology and forensic reports which will allow them to focus and inform their policies, as well as understanding how, why and where crashes happen.

Assistant Garda Commissioner John O'Mahony said that cases of drink driving have risen this year by 6.4pc.

He said gardaí have noticed more people were willing to take the risk, which is worrying with Christmas around the corner. In the six weeks from December 1, there was 24 people killed on the roads last year.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News