Sunday 17 December 2017

Seven lives lost in bleak weekend on the roads

Darragh Doherty
Darragh Doherty
The late John McGarrigle from Ballyshannon who died in a road traffic crash at Ballintra, Co Donegal on Sunday night.
19 yr old Marty Strain who lost his life in a fatal road traffic accident in Donegal

Greg Harkin and Caroline Crawford

Seven lives were wiped out in a bleak weekend on Irish roads, with five of the victims aged 20 or under.

Three university students and a rising Mayo football star were among those killed.

The GAA community is in mourning after the death of rising star Darragh Doherty.

Darragh (19) from Shrule died after the car he was driving crashed at 10.30pm on Sunday outside Ballinrobe.

The All-Ireland medal winner with the Mayo Minor team, brought the Tom Markham Cup back to Mayo in 2013. Darragh scored a goal and two points in the final.

Kilmaine GAA expressed their "profound sadness" at his sudden death, describing him as an "outstanding" footballer who "brought honour and glory to club and county".

It also extended its good wishes and support to the family of Niall Heneghan who was injured in the crash.

Club Chairman Donald Walsh said Darragh was a "fantastic young footballer with a great future ahead of him".

Three Queens University Belfast friends died together in a horror crash on the A1 dual carriageway on the same day.

Conall Havern and Gavin Sloan, both aged 20, and Peter Hughes (19) were all said to be academically gifted and sure to have made a mark in their chosen careers of chemical engineering and law.

It is understood that the friends were travelling to Belfast to search for a flat.

Tributes were also paid to 70-year-old John McGarrigle, a retired fisheries officer, who died on Sunday evening on his way home from bingo in Ballintra, Co Donegal.

His SUV was in collision with another car as he turned on to the main N15 road as he was about to drive home to Ballyshannon.

His death came just hours after 19-year-old Marty Strain died in north Donegal after his car left the road at Tooban.

And motorcyclist Thomas Sweetman (41) died when his bike collided with a car at Ballinrush near Kilworth in Co Cork on Saturday

He was due to celebrate his 42nd birthday this week.

Moyagh Murdock, CEO of the RSA, expressed her condolences to the families of the seven victims.

"It's dreadful to say that on a good week in Ireland you might see three people lose their lives. On a bad week, like the one we've seen go past, you could lose up to seven people on our roads," she said.

Chief Supt Mark Curran, from the Garda National Traffic Bureau, said: "To lose a loved one in a road crash is devastating and although 2015 has had fewer road deaths than this date in 2014, weekends like the one just gone serves as a very stark reminder that the roads can be a very dangerous place."

Irish Independent

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