23,000 deaths on Irish roads in just over 40 years
MORE than 23,000 people have been killed on Irish roads since records began in 1959, new figures show.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) released the statistics ahead of World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims on Sunday.
Commemoration services, masses and other events are being planned throughout the country over the weekend to remember those who killed or seriously injured in road crashes, as well as their families and friends.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said the scale of the deaths should force people to reflect on their own driving.
"Since 1959, 23,227 people have been killed on our roads, more than the population of the town of Athlone," he said.
"And for every life lost on our roads, hundreds more are devastated by the loss.
"World Remembrance Day gives us all an opportunity to remember the victims of road crashes, the families grieving for their loss and the communities shattered by these tragedies."
Among the events planned is a day of a special prayers in more than 30 churches of all denominations across Co Carlow and a mass in Cork's Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne, attended by emergency services and crash survivors.
Dedicated services will also be held in Donegal, Derry, Louth and Mayo while a special candle-lit tree-planting ceremony is planned for Belvedere House and Gardens in Co Westmeath.
A full list of events is available on the RSA website, www.rsa.ie.
Gay Byrne, chairman of the RSA, said it was a day to remember those who died, their loved ones left behind and the emergency services.
"We also acknowledge those who have been seriously injured on our roads and those who continue to support and care for them every day," he said.