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Crash road appeared finished, court told

A health and safety consultant yesterday told an inquest into the death of a 22-year-old woman in a road accident that the unfinished road on which she was killed had the appearance of a completed road.

Niall O'Donovan, a former civil engineer with Atkins Ireland: Engineering and Design Consultancy, gave evidence on the third day of an inquest into the death of Ashling Gallagher from Bunnacurry, Achill Island, Co Mayo.

Ms Gallagher died on December 22, 2004, after her VW Caddy van swerved across the road into a cement mixer truck in the townland of Murrivaugh, Mulranny, Co Mayo.

Mr O'Donovan told the inquest yesterday that the combination of a smooth dense bitumen macadam road surface; the presence of permanent road markings and the absence of roadworks signs would give road users the impression of a completed road.

Furthermore, the absence of an advisory speed limit would indicate that the general speed limit of 60mph was applicable.

During the course of yesterday's proceedings it emerged that civil court proceedings are pending in the matter.

It also emerged that the Health and Safety Authority had sent a file on the matter to the DPP but the DPP had decided that there should be no prosecutions arising from the tragedy.

The inquest is to resume today.

Irish Independent