Wednesday 18 September 2019

'I'm thinking of my beauties and what life could have been' - Bereaved families of road accident victims gather to remember loved ones

So far, 137 people have died on Irish roads in 2017

Elber Twomey with her husband Con and son Oisin, who were both killed in a car crash in 2012
Elber Twomey with her husband Con and son Oisin, who were both killed in a car crash in 2012

Jason Kennedy

Families of road accident victims have gathered in Dublin this morning to remember their loved ones.

The special service, organised by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), marks the beginning of World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, which takes place this Sunday.

Each year, the RSA highlights this day of commemoration with a reception for those families whose loved ones were killed or seriously injured and road traffic victims groups who have done so much to support the promotion of road safety.

Among those in attendance was Cork woman Elber Twomey, who lost her husband Con, infant son Oisin and unborn daughter Elber Marie after a collision with a suicidal driver.

Since the crash, Ms Twomey has become a road safety campaigner and advocate for mental health and suicide prevention.

"Today, I'm thinking of my beauties, of course, and what life could have been like," she told Independent.ie.

Eugene Maher’s widow, Marie, and daughter Lisa outside court in 2016. Picture: Collins
Eugene Maher’s widow, Marie, and daughter Lisa outside court in 2016. Picture: Collins

"I want that they'll never die and that they were here for a reason and that they left their mark and that they will have saved many lives. Please God."

Ms Twomey added that events  where grieving families can speak to each other and mourn together are important, since it brings more awareness to an important issue.

"I think we all try and support one another in bringing about change and creating awareness.

"Every one of them here are similar to me. Everybody has lost somebody that they love dearly and miss greatly and they want to see them remembered and change being brought about in their honour, like myself."

Dublin woman Lisa Marie Maher, whose father was killed by a hit-and-run driver in 2015, says it's still something she hasn't fully come to terms with.

"My dad was my best friend. He was my hero. He was my mentor in life. He supported me through good and bad," she said.

"Like most fathers, he was everything to me and I have to deal, every single day, knowing that I'll never see him again.

"I cannot believe my dad is a statistic. He was never meant to be a statistic. He had a legacy and a huge impact on this world and on so many people."

The event was organised alongside An Garda Siochana, Local County Councils, Emergency Services and victim support groups. The service, held in Dublin's Smock Alley theatre, included poetry readings and songs from Dublin Gospel Choir.

It was a day of reflection for those impacted by deaths on Irish roads, according to RSA CEO Moyagh Murdock.

"It gives us an opportunity to to remember those who have died on our roads, lives cut short too soon." she said.

"Behind every life lost or serious injury, there are families, friends and communities who have been left devastated."

So far, 137 people have died on Irish roads in 2017, which is a reduction of 33 deaths compared to the same dates in 2016.

In total, 24,103 people have been killed and a further 79,761 seriously injured due to road collisions since records began in 1977.

Events to mark World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims on Sunday, November 19:

* Cork: Remembrance service takes place in the Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne, Roman Street (Shandon), Cork city at 11.30am.

* Cavan: A special memorial event will take place in Castle Saunderson, Belturbet, Cavan, from 2pm to 4pm.

* Dublin: A special memorial Mass will be celebrated in St Michan's Church, Halston Street, Dublin 7, at 11am.

* Galway: A commemoration to remember all road traffic victims in the Clayton Hotel, Galway, at 2pm.

* Kerry: A special Mass for road victims at 9am in St Mary's Church, Listowel, and in St. Mary's Cathedral, New Street, Killarney, at 12pm.

* Louth: A special memorial Mass will be celebrated in the Augustinian Church, Drogheda, at 1.15pm.

* Mayo: There will be a service at Knock Shrine at noon.

* Waterford: A special commemoration in the Tower Hotel, Waterford, at 2pm.

* Westmeath: The Irish Road Victims' Association is hosting a memorial service for road traffic victims in the Belvedere and Uisneach suites, Bloomfield House Hotel, Mullingar, at 2pm.

Details of all events can be found on www.rsa.ie.

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