Saturday 18 November 2017

Four people killed in road collisions over bank holiday weekend

Four people are dead and one is seriously injured in hospital following carnage on the roads over the bank holiday weekend.

Four people were killed on the roads in less than 24 hours between Friday and yesterday.

Just before 5:30pm yesterday, a female motorcyclist from West Cork in her 50s died in a crash at Pike Hill, two kiometres from Killarney on the main Cork Road. She is believed to have been attending a motorcycle convention in the village earlier in the day.

The road was closed closed to facilitate an examination by Garda Forensic Collision Investigators and local diversions are in place.

On Friday, an elderly woman was killed and her husband was left fighting for his life following a horror road crash which also claimed the life of a motorcyclist in Co Kildare.

Meanwhile, in Co. Kerry, a man was killed following a single-vehicle crash in Co Kerry.

The motorbike involved in the crash is taken away
The motorbike involved in the crash is taken away

Jim (85) and Betty (81) O'Brien, from Kilkea, near Athy, Co Kildare, had just left the home of their daughter Catherine Cullen and her husband Tom shortly after 2pm when a motorcyclist, travelling on the link road between Athy and the M9 in Co Kildare, collided with their navy Ford Fiesta.

It is understood that they were pulling out of the driveway when the motorcycle collided with the passenger side of the car, where Ms O'Brien was sitting.

Mrs Cullen is the couple's only child and they were known to visit her regularly during the week.

"We're so numb at the moment. Betty was a quiet woman and had a simple life," a relative of Tom Cullen, who did not wish to be named, told the Irish Independent.

"They'd come over here to the daughter, it was from home to here and to Mass. They were here every day.

"The guard said to me, 'Another second and the bike would have gone by and none of it would have happened.' It's all ifs and buts."

Mr O'Brien was taken to Naas General Hospital and doctors have told the family that his neck may be broken.

The family are heavily involved in the local Grangenolvin GAA club.

Catherine is currently the junior secretary of the club and her husband is a trainer there.

Both of Mrs O'Brien's grandsons, Catherine's children, also play with the club.

"It's hard to put into words the level of shock there is," PJ Doyle, chairman of the club, said.

"There will be a massive outpouring of grief. She was a really good-hearted and down-to-earth lady."

SHOCK

He added: "I only pray now that Jim pulls through. The families of the victims will be in the thoughts of everyone in the club."

Both Ms O'Brien and the motorcyclist, JP Doyle (29), from Kilberry, Co Kildare, were killed instantly in the collision.

In a cruel twist, some members of the emergency service who attended the scene were related to the victims. One of them, who was related to Mr Doyle, had to be led away.

Mr Doyle, the father of a young child, had started a new job at Glanbia two weeks ago and had left work just minutes before the accident.

Local farmworker Colin Moore said he heard a loud "thump" when the accident happened half-a-mile away from where he is based.

"I heard the motorbike coming over the hill," he said.

Another local said: "It's a new road but there aren't any signs to tell people to slow down."

Meanwhile, a man who was involved in a single-vehicle accident at Beaufort, Co Kerry, was last night fighting for his life in hospital.

It is understood that the car being driven by John Riordan, a local man in his 30s, lost control and collided with a tree. The incident happened at around 8pm.

Gardai have begun Operation Slowdown, a nationwide campaign of checkpoints that will continue throughout the bank holiday weekend.

Irish Independent

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