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Thursday 21 November 2019

Schoolgirl fights for life after crash at blackspot

Greg Harkin

A TEENAGE schoolgirl has been critically injured in a horrific road crash at a notorious accident blackspot.

Katy O'Toole (16) was a back-seat passenger in a car which collided with two others on the N17, at a right-turn junction for Kiltimagh, in Mayo.

The latest crash has led to demands for council bosses to change the junction, which has been the scene of up to a dozen smashes in the past 18 months.

"Katy is in a critical condition and we are all praying for her," said family priest Canon John Walsh, who visited the teenager in intensive care at Castlebar Hospital last night.

The fifth-year pupil at St Louis Community College in Kiltimagh is from nearby Kilkelly and was among three people injured in the accident.

Driver James Jennings (20) was released from hospital last night while front-seat passenger John O'Brien (20) was undergoing surgery.

"That stretch of road is very dangerous," said Canon Walsh.

"There have been a number of incidents there and, while we don't know the exact circumstances of this incident, it is something which needs to be looked at.

"The community is in shock and everyone is praying for Katy, in particular because she is in a critical condition. Please God, she will pull through."

The Aghamore parish priest said the area was still coming to terms with the death of local GAA star JJ McHugh, who died in a road crash in Co Sligo three weeks ago.

The 21-year-old was returning home from Sligo IT when he was involved in an accident at Ballinacarrow.


Local community activist Johnny Caulfield told the Irish Independent: "There is no lane or box for a right turn at that spot, and taking that turn is like playing Russian roulette.

"There have been a dozen accidents there and something needs to be done urgently about that junction.

"We won't know what happened in this case until gardai complete their investigations, but I believe action needs to be taken sooner rather than later."

The road re-opened at lunchtime yesterday after Garda road traffic accident investigators examined the scene.

Irish Independent

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