HOPES of recording the lowest annual number of road fatalities in more than a decade have been marred by eight deaths in just seven days over Christmas.
The latest fatality was Liam Curtin (31), who died after being struck by a waste collection lorry while out walking in Carrigaline, Co Cork, yesterday morning.
His death brings to 185 the number of people killed on Irish roads so far in 2011 -- with the past seven days ranking among the deadliest.
Almost as many people died over the past seven days as during the entire month of April, when nine were killed.
However, the country remains on course to achieve less than 200 road fatalities this year -- a dramatic improvement on the worst year on record, which saw 396 people die.
Mr Curtin -- the son of Billy and Mary Curtin -- had been paying a Christmas visit to family and friends having set up home in Cloyne in east Cork five years ago when he got married.
The incident occurred on the N28 Ringaskiddy Road between the Shannon Park Roundabout and Shanbally shortly after 7am.
Mr Curtin was struck by a waste collection lorry and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The lorry driver -- an eastern European man in his 20s -- was treated for shock.
Carrigaline priest Fr Charlie Nyhan described the accident as a terrible tragedy.
In Dublin last night, a six-year-old boy suffered a suspected broken leg after being knocked down.
The incident happened on the N32 in north Dublin, close to the entrance of Belcamp College in Balgriffin, at about 7pm.
It is understood the youngster was waiting with a group at a pedestrian crossing but stepped out and a car hit him.
He was taken to Temple Street Children's University Hospital for treatment.
Of the eight people to lose their lives on Irish roads since Friday, four were pedestrians.
Two other people -- both in Cork -- remain in serious condition in hospital following other unrelated road accidents.
Road Safety Authority (RSA) boss Gay Byrne said it was vital that, despite Ireland's financial problems, ways were found to ensure a high level of garda traffic enforcement. "Lives are quite literally at stake," he told the Irish Independent.
The AA, gardai and RSA last night renewed their appeal to motorists to drive carefully over the new year period.