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Monday 11 December 2017

Pensioner loses fight for life and becomes fifth to die on roads over weekend

The O'Briens' Fiesta after the fatal crash in near Athy Co Kildare
Pic:Mark Condren
The O'Briens' Fiesta after the fatal crash in near Athy Co Kildare Pic:Mark Condren
The scene of a fatal crash in near Athy Co Kildare Pic:Mark Condren

A MAN in his 80s has died today following a crash last Friday which saw two other people - including his wife - lose their lives.

James O'Brien's death brings to five the number of people who have been killed on the roads over the bank holiday weekend - leading to gardai this afternoon renewing their appeal for all road users to take extra care on the roads.

Mr O'Brien (85), of Kilkea, Castledermot in Kildare, was the driver of a car which was in collision with a motorcycle last Friday.

Funeral arrangements are being finalised for the other two people killed in the collision.

Jim and his wife Betty (81) had just left the home of their daughter Catherine Cullen and her husband Tom shortly after 2pm when there was a collision with a motorcyclist, travelling on the link road between Athy and the M9 in Co Kildare.

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 last Friday.

"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."

The motorcyclist, John Doyle (29) of Kilberry, Athy, Co Kildare, also died on Friday.

Mr O'Brien was taken to Naas General Hospital but lost his battle for life today.

Gardai have again appealed for witnesses to the incident.

His death brings to 80 the number of people who have died in traffic accidents so far this year.

Before Mr O'Brien, a woman in her early 50s died on Saturday.

The woman, who was originally from the UK but living in the Dunmanway area in Co Cork, died when her Harley-Davidson left the road at Pike Hill about 2km outside Killarney.

She had been attending the Ireland Bike Fest in the town with her partner, who was ahead of her on another motorbike, when the accident occurred.

There were about 30,000 motorbike enthusiasts from all over the country and abroad in the town for the event.

Gardai haven't released her name until family members in the UK have been notified.

It was the second road tragedy in the area in a 24-hour period.

John Riordan (32) from Listry, Faha, near Killarney, died on Saturday morning of injuries he sustained in a single-vehicle car crash at Lahard near Beaufort the previous night when he lost control of his Toyota Hilux Bigo 4x4 which hit a tree.

Mr Riordan was taken to Kerry General Hospital where he later died.

It was the second tragedy to hit the family in recent times. His father, Timmy, died in a workplace accident in March 2012 that occurred on a farm.

Meanwhile, gardai are continuing to carry out speed checks on the roads as part of its national campaign, Operation Slowdown.

Between Friday and Saturday night of the bank holiday weekend the speed of 53,469 vehicles was checked and 321 drivers were detected to be in excess of the speed limit.

The number of road deaths by the end of May this year was already higher than the same period last year.

The figures break the trend of a year on year drop in road deaths over the past seven years.

There were three road deaths on the June Bank Holiday weekend in 2010.

This dropped to one in 2011, but rose to six in 2012.

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