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Mum-for-a-day Nicola just one of the victims in year of carnage

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Crash victim Theresa Robinson

Crash victim Theresa Robinson

Crash victim Theresa Robinson

The death of a first-time mother a day after giving birth was only one of the tragedies on Ireland's roads this year.

Nicola Kenny (26), from Thurles, Co Tipperary, was travelling to Dublin last September after her day-old daughter was transferred to Temple Street hospital because of concerns for her health.

Nicola, who was with her mother Ann and aunt Irene Whelan, who was driving, rec-eived a phone call from the hospital.

They pulled on to the hard shoulder of the M8 to take the call in safety and were given the good news that little baby Lily-Rose was recovering well and was about to be transferred back to Clonmel Hospital where she was born.

When the phone call ended, a truck smashed into the back of the car, killing Nicola, who was in the back seat, and injuring her mother and aunt.

In July, 13 people were killed on the roads in a single week.

Two young men and a young woman died following a head-on collision on July 28.

Theresa Robinson (20), Kaylem O Murachaidh (19) and Steven McCafferty (19) died in the accident in Drumkeen, Co Donegal.

In a separate crash, musician Tony Rice (26) died when his car hit a concrete barrier near Killimor, Co Galway, on the same day.

In the same week, Barney McGinley (28) and Dermot Boyle (19) were killed in a crash in Donegal, and Michael Naughton (24) and father-of-two Shane Fleming (42) lost their lives in separate accidents in Clane, Co Kildare, and Castlefarm, Co Meath.

Surpassed

There have been 187 road deaths on Irish roads this year, an increase of 24 over the previous 12 months.

The 162 road deaths in all of 2015 were surpassed by the end of November, with 169 people killed.

There have been 21 fatal road accidents each in Dublin and Cork this year, an increase from 16 and 15 respectively last year.

Waterford recorded no road deaths last year but nine this year. Carlow is the only county not to have suffered any road fatalities in 2016.

Seventeen people have been killed on the roads this month.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has warned drivers to be extra-careful this weekend.

Since December 1, there has been an increase of 34pc in the number of arrests on suspicion of driving under the influence - 738 compared with 549 for the same period last year despite the RSA's Christmas anti-drink driving campaign.

"Tragically, there have been two fatalities over the past seven days, a motorcyclist on Christmas Day and a driver on St Stephen's Day," said Garda Assistant Commissioner Mich-ael Finn.

"In addition, 14 drivers were arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving on Christmas Day.

"After all the appeals and media focus on this area, it is bitterly disappointing that some drivers took that risk with their and other people's lives when they should have been enjoying the day with friends and family."

Forty-six drivers were arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving on last New Year's Day.


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