Young man and woman in her 60s are first road victims of new year
A YOUNG man and a woman in her 60s have become the first people to die on the roads this year.
Gary Morgan (22) died shortly after 2am yesterday when his car went out of control on the N3 and crashed into a wall near his home town of Virginia, Co Cavan.
Mr Morgan was travelling alone, and was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was removed to Cavan General Hospital for a post-mortem, and gardai are appealing for witnesses.
Later, a woman in her 60s died when her car went into a ditch in Co Wexford at about 1.30pm. She was driving on the R733 at Haggard, Ramsgrange, about 15 minutes outside New Ross when the accident occurred.
The woman, who was from Wexford town, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Another woman, aged in her 70s, and also from Wexford town, who was a passenger in the car was taken by ambulance to Wexford General Hospital.
Gardai are still looking for people with information on the incident to come forward.
Meanwhile, Cavan Fianna Fail councillor Shane P O'Reilly said last night that Mr Morgan's family were "absolutely devastated" by his death.
"He wasn't married but lived at home with his mother and three brothers. He'd be very popular around the town, a true gentleman. He went to secondary school at Virginia College and did an apprenticeship after.
"He would be involved with everything in the community. If anyone needed a help with anything, he'd be there," he said.
His death comes after it emerged that road deaths had fallen to their lowest level since records began in 1959, with 186 people killed last year -- a drop of 26 on 2010.
Meanwhile, two people including an 80-year-old woman were seriously injured in an accident in Co Tipperary last night.
Gardai in Roscrea are investigating the single car collision which occurred on the old N7 road between Dunkerrin and Roscrea at about 5pm.
The two injured were taken to hospital by ambulance where their condition was last night described as stable.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan told the Irish Independent yesterday that despite budget cuts, which would result in fewer traffic corps members, gardai would enforce road traffic laws, adding that there was "no tension" between gardai and the Road Safety Authority (RSA).
Last week RSA chairman Gay Byrne warned that any reduction in garda enforcement would result in lives being lost, because as soon as the word got around that the enforcement level had dropped, bad behaviour would return.
But Mr Callinan urged the public to help reduce deaths by reporting dangerous behaviour and stopping friends from drinking and driving.
Statistics show the number of people killed on the roads has fallen by almost half in just a decade. Deaths have fallen for the sixth consecutive year, and this is the fourth year in succession where deaths have been at a record low.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said motorists should be proud of their achievement, but warned that road safety would remain a "key priority".
Some 16 new penalty point offences would come into force in 2012.