Ten years on after three men, two of them cousins, were killed in a head-on road smash one of their fathers is appealing to all drivers to slow down, saying the pain of losing someone on the roads never goes away.
Dominic Morley, whose son Aaron was one of those killed in the crash, made his comments ahead of this Sunday's World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.
The three young men died on November 8 2006 after the car in which they were travelling collided with a small tipper truck near the entrance to Ballinrobe Racecourse. The crash was so horrific that the first person who arrived at the scene could not bring himself to look into the wreckage.
Road accidents are the second leading cause of death globally among young people aged five to 29 years, and the third leading cause of death among people aged 30 to 44 years. Road crashes kill 1.2 million people every year globally, and injure or disable as many as 50 million more. Behind each statistic there are stories of fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, grandchildren, colleagues, classmates, or friends whose lives were transformed in an instant by a road crash.
“I try to keep his memory alive by writing, by living and keeping busy," said Dominic Morley. "I feel different about the world even in subtle ways. His death has given me a certain kind of sadness that moved into something bigger, engulfing the universe. My memories of him are what is left. Of course he was my son, and though ordinary to the casual observer, he was mine, and the loss remains unparalleled.
"There has been some improvement in Ireland since, for which I am grateful, but my son Aaron and his two friends Patrick and Jonathan will be forever missed, and the pain is impounded every day as I hear of more lives needlessly lost on our roads. My appeal is simple — please, please, slow down, to wear their seat belts and not to ever drink and drive, and get to live your life to the full. We have to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Families have had enough heartache. In today's world social networking lets us expand beyond our homes and families, and yet we may never realise when a post goes silent because the voice is no longer with us. Please use your social media accounts to pass this message.”
A service will take place at Knock Shrine at 12 noon on Sunday to remember those who were injured or lost their lives in road collisions, and to recognise the work carried out by the emergency services. The event is among a number of ceremonies across Ireland as part of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. After the service all are invited for refreshments and an opportunity to mix in the Rest and Care Centre in Knock. Those who do not make the service are also welcome to meet people who also have been affected by road trauma.
A total of 163 people have died on Irish roads to date this year.