'No one should feel my pain' - grieving mum as two more die on roads

Amy Loughrey died in a crash

Laura Lynott

A woman whose daughter died in a car crash has made a desperate safety plea to drivers as she faces another Christmas without her.

Rita Doyle's daughter Lena (22) was killed when the car in which she was a passenger crashed in April 2010.

The driver of the car, Danielle Smith, received an 18-month suspended sentence after she was convicted of dangerous driving.

Rita (48) said she is shocked by the death toll on Irish roads this year and begged people to slow down and drive with care.

The Wexford mum spoke out as two more people died on the country's roads on Thursday.

Pedestrian Betty McManus (74) was knocked down and killed in Co Leitrim while 25-year-old Amy Loughrey died in a crash in Co Donegal.

Rita said if she can help save one person's life it would be worth it.

"I saw the road safety figures and I thought they were just crazy - I don't understand it," she said.

"Why aren't people listening? I think a lot of drivers must think they're immortal, that they think this pain will never visit them, but trust me, it can - and you will never recover from it.

"There needs to be more gardai on our roads now in the new year to stop the death toll, and there have to be tougher penalty points and prison terms. Children need to be educated from a young age about road safety.

"My message to every Irish driver is to think about your own loved ones.

"Would you want them to be without you this year? Would you want to lose them? I'm sure the answer is no. I wouldn't wish anyone to go


Rita is still angry that Ms Smith did not go to jail for her role in Lena's death.

She believes stiffer sentences are needed to deter dangerous drivers.

"I never get stopped by gardai. Sometimes I wish I was a garda so I could have something to do with stopping dangerous drivers," she said.

"I do what I can by speaking about my loss. If my loss can help save just one life, it will make me happy.

"But I need drivers to know that families never get over losing their loved ones on the road.

"Christmas has never been the same since losing Lena. That was our time, when we went shopping together.

"Lena was special. You always knew she was in the room because she had the most amazing laugh.

"It's hard carrying on, it really is, but I have to for my sons, and one day I look forward to seeing my beautiful girl in heaven."

Meanwhile, two communities are coming to terms with tragic road deaths in the run up to Christmas.

Pensioner Mrs McManus was killed as she crossed the road to deliver a present to her sister in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim.

The widow was known around the country through her involvement with the annual Joe Mooney Summer School, a traditional Irish music event that she helped to found.

Supt Eugene McGovern described as "absolutely heartbreaking" the death of Amy Loughrey, from Waterside, Derry, who died in a two-car collision in Inishowen, Co Donegal, on Thursday night.