Tuesday 27 September 2016

Christmas road deaths are a lesson to all of us

Published 28/12/2015 | 02:30

'Gardaí, ambulance personnel and hospital staff - the frontline workers who literally pick up the pieces of shattered humanity - can already tell us that more lives are likely to be lost before this Christmas and New Year holiday season is concluded' (stock photo)
'Gardaí, ambulance personnel and hospital staff - the frontline workers who literally pick up the pieces of shattered humanity - can already tell us that more lives are likely to be lost before this Christmas and New Year holiday season is concluded' (stock photo)

The brutality, the suddenness, the randomness and the finality. All of these horrors combine to compound our grief at the loss of a loved one in a road accident. The profound grief at such loss is a body blow at any time of year. But the Christmas season makes it even worse.

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This Christmas has brought more than its share of such grief to many families and communities around the island of Ireland. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost family and friends in these horrible events.

For many of the bereaved, life is changed completely and the future is about coping with loss and finding strength to carry on. Communities in Antrim, Cavan, Carlow, Dublin and Wexford are among those left bereft, with people trying to find answers to questions which always elude a response.

We are additionally saddened because 2015 was shaping up to be one of the better years for road safety, with fewer people losing their lives in traffic incidents. One life lost, for no better reason than that a person was trying to get from one place to another, is always one life too many.

But the levels of carnage which occur periodically have to make us all stop and think. Many of us do not take adequate care in driving, cycling or simply walking.

Too many of us still take a chance and travel while under the influence of drink or drugs. Most of us could benefit from slowing down a little, and being more vigilant on our own behalves and those of other road users.

Gardaí, ambulance personnel and hospital staff - the frontline workers who literally pick up the pieces of shattered humanity - can already tell us that more lives are likely to be lost before this Christmas and New Year holiday season is concluded.

That in itself should be a sobering thought, and a thought that should put more of our focus on the safety of ourselves and others on the road. Let us all please take the opportunity to think a little more about road safety. The deaths on Irish roads this Christmas carry a lesson for us all.

Sales signal a welcome return of confidence

Many hardy souls who did battle in the Christmas throngs just days ago, are back in action and ready to ferret out the many bargains available in the sales. Now, that is news which would please the most frugal, for it spells recession's end.

True, the sales bring out the wastrel in many of us. We cod ourselves into thinking that "40pc off" is too good to miss - even if we know in our hearts we don't need nor want that item. It is an eternal, circular debate for which there is no real definitive answer. Most of us can carry both sides of the argument around with us, often as we do battle for bargains.

But this year - after what Finance Minister Michael Noonan called "Ireland's lost decade" - pretty well all of us will welcome the return of "sales madness". It is an all-round good thing because it tells us that shoppers have got their confidence back.

And that missing shopper confidence, since the ravages of recession in late 2008, has contributed to job losses and blighted many lives in Ireland. We many not be entirely free of our economic woes. But the worst of the recession is over and it is time to live, and spend, just a little.

Irish Independent

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