Sligo is the deadliest place in the country for road fatalities.
New figures published, show that the county had the biggest number of deaths on the road per capita in the land in 2022.
The county reported a total of 8.59 fatalities per 100,000 of the population.
That figure is six times higher than the rate last year.
The county had a death rate of 1.43 last year.
Neighbouring counties Leitrim and Donegal had 1 and 4 deaths per population of 100,000 respectively so far in 2022.
Nationwide, the country had a 16 per cent increase in the number of road deaths.
The figures published in the Irish Independent were compiled by campaign group – Parc – ahead of the Christmas period.
They told the paper the Garda Roads Policing Unit need additional resources to deal with the current increase in fatal collisions.
Reacting to the news, Mayor of the Borough District of Sligo, Councillor Tom MacSharry said he was shocked at the figure and extended condolences to the families of those who sadly passed away.
Cllr MacSharry accused the Minister of Transport, Eamon Ryan of “being asleep at the wheel.”
“As a community our condolences are always with the families and one death on the roads is one too many.
“And as we approach Christmas, which is a family occasion, the devastation of the loss of loved ones is compounded.”
He added that he had been campaigning “with all my political colleagues for more funding for roads infrastructure as a matter of priority.
“And, I do feel that the north west has been overlooked for vital funding and that the Minister for Transport would appear to be asleep at the wheel when it comes to the region.
“I have called repeatedly for the S 3 bus route to be up and running serving Finisklin Estate, First Sea Road and a number of estates in the area and that appears to be falling on deaf ears.
“The Minister is supposed to be public transport friendly but that is not the case and if people are using public transport instead of their cars it reduces the risk to life and limb on the roads.
“We urgently need money for upgrading the N15 and the N17 in this region and if we are really serious as a country in reducing the deaths on our roads, we really need to start investing in a road infrastructure.
“It appears to me that when it comes to funding, the east coast is always the big winner while the north west is successively ignored.”
He added: “I am shocked by the high figure for Sligo and one death on the road is one death too many and the devastation in a family is unfathomable.”
Cllr MacSharry went on to say everyone has a part ot play in achieving safer road conditions.
“There is also a strong onus on all road users to be extra vigilant and for drivers to slow down, do not drink or drive or take prohibited substances and to wear their seat selts.”
South Sligo Councillor Paul Taylor has called for caution on Sligo roads in the run up to Christmas.
“I am shocked at the figure of eight deaths on the road this year. It is concerning, and it certainly is something we have to look at dealing with.
“I don’t really know why that figure is the way it is for us, but it is there, and it is something that we must take very seriously as a council, and we will be.
“I think investment from the Department of Transport is huge so we will have to identify what we believe is wrong.
“It has to be said as well, there are issues of speed and dangerous driving in Sligo and in every county in Ireland.
“There are issues in our road networks all over the country, but we need more controls around speeding and gardai are always talking about this also.
“Councils are doing their best also, but I think that people have a responsibility to be careful as well.
“But there is a human tragedy here as well as this will be the first Christmas for some families where they will not have a loved one at the table.
“Our sympathies are with everybody in Sligo and all over the country and our heart goes out to them all, but it is very important for people to be careful on the roads in the months ahead.
“There is a while to go before Christmas and we ask people to slow down and be aware of the dangers that are out there.
Fine Gael Councillor Martin Connolly said he had no explanation for such a high death toll in Sligo for this year.
“It is a sad indictment on the county to hear that and I don’t know is it road improvements that is needed, is it signage that is needed or is it a combination of a lot of things to stop these fatalities from happening?
“I am very shocked that it is so high. We are a small county here in Sligo and you assume that other counties have higher death tolls than we have in Sligo, and it is a complete shock that the numbers are so high here in Sligo.
“And it is terribly sad on the families and the relatives that are mourning people’s deaths on the road coming up to Christmas and I am sure there are many more who were injured and some with life- time scars on them from those accidents as well.”
In Martin’s area, the N 17 is a very dangerous road, but he is hopeful that the reduced speed limit of 80kph have helped to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities.
“The reduced speed limits have helped between Bellahy and Ballinacarrow.
“Now there are still accidents on a regular basis on that particular part of the road.
“There are a few junctions that are very poorly served with sight lines.
“We have asked as councillors in the area for Sligo County Council to engage with the TII and have the council engineers do a survey of all these junctions.
“This is to try to reduce accidents and let people feel safer on the road and not be in fear of an accident every time they come out on the N17.
“But it is heartening that nobody was killed on that length of road this year. But there have been several minor accidents and if you keep having minor accidents it is only a matter of time before you have a serious one.
“It needs to be dealt with.
“The by-pass is a long term project and it will be a long time before you have cars on that road. People have to get to work, and they have to get to school along with everything else, safely on the existing road for a lot of years yet,” he said.
Last Sunday, 20 November, marked ‘World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims’ with commemorations to remember the victims of road traffic crashes and their families taking place around the country including a Mass at Knock Basilica.
135 people have been killed on Irish roads to date in 2022 which is a increase of 19 deaths compared to the same date last year.
In 2005 the United Nations adopted a resolution which calls for governments to mark the third Sunday in November each year as World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.
This day provides an opportunity to draw the public’s attention to road traffic crashes, their consequences and costs, and the measures which can be taken to prevent them.
24,814 people have died on roads since Ireland began recording fatalities in 1959. Since 1977, when injury records began, 86,703 people have been seriously injured.