Tuesday 12 December 2017

Mother who lost entire family in crash behind garda suicide awareness initiative

Elber Twomey
Elber Twomey
Elber, Con and Oisin Twomey.
Suicidal taxi driver Marek Wojciechowski
16-month-old Oisin Twomey

A woman who lost her family after a suicidal taxi driver deliberately drove into their car is behind an initiative to put specific training in place for gardai dealing with suicidal people.

Elber Twomey’s husband Connie (39), her 16-month-old son Oisin and unborn daughter Elber Marie were killed as a result of the horrific car smash in 2012.

Polish taxi-driver Marek Wojciechowski rammed into the their vehicle while they were on holiday in Devon.

The 38-year-old now plans to encourage the creation of specific suicide awareness/prevention training among gardai so that similar tragedies may be prevented.

In an initiative supported by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, Ms Twomey will speak to senior officers at the Garda Training College in Templemore next month about including this training as part of the force’s primary in-service programme.

Minister Fitzgerald discussed the plans with Ms Twomey and her brother, Tomas, in a 20 minute meeting in Dublin last Wednesday.

Ms twomey has dedicated her time since the devastating incident to researching best practices worldwide used by authorities when dealing with potentially suicidal drivers.

While specific training was given to police in some regions of Australia and the US, Ms Twomey found there was no definitive procedure in place in Ireland or in the UK.

Ms Twomey told the Irish Examiner that the campaign was a source of comfort to her. “I wouldn’t wish my life on anyone else.”

“It would also help the gardai in dealing with such stressful situations,” she said, adding that she hoped that the gardai would adopt a programme that the British police could then follow.

Up to €80,000 in fundraising in memory of Ms Twomey's family is expected to be reached in the coming months.

There is a plan in place to transfer these monies to various suicide charities.

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