Yet another close-knit Cork community has been left "heartbroken" and "devastated" by road death after a popular young Kilworth man lost his life yesterday.
Kieran Colgan, aged in his early 20s, died in a two-car collision in North Cork yesterday morning. His death means six people have been killed on the roads, and 12 injured, in the last five days alone.
Cork Regional Traffic Superintendent Pat Lehane said the figures are extremely alarming.
“To have six people die on our roads in just five days… it’s a dreadful statistic. It really is. And most of these were young people, which is even more devastating,” he said.
“The impact such deaths have on families, extended families, and on communities as a whole… it’s just enormous.” Kieran, who had been on his way to work at Dairygold in Mallow, died when his car crashed into a 4x4 on the N72 Ballyhooley to Fermoy road yesterday at around 8am.
A mother and two children who had been travelling in the 4x4 suffered injuries and were taken to Cork University Hospital.
Local Fianna Fáil representative Kevin O’Keeffe TD dubbed the incident “a terrible tragedy” – one made even more heartbreaking considering it happened in the run up to Christmas.
Local Fine Gael Councillor Noel McCarthy said that while it is as yet unclear what caused the crash, that particular stretch of road is “very bad” in terms of accidents.
He called on the roads authority to look into producing a report into what can be done to make the area safer for motorists.
A second serious accident also took place in West Cork yesterday, though there were no fatalities.
The incident occurred at around lunch time at Argideen on the Timoleague to Bandon road when a car carrying a woman and a child left the road and turned onto its roof, ending up in a wet and boggy area. Both were airlifted to Cork University Hospital.
The accidents are the latest in a string of crashes that have taken place since the start of December.
On Sunday, a Cork family sustained serious injuries in a two-car crash in Dungarvan which killed three men.
Mallow residents Mary Bermingham (37) and her partner Gary Fenton (35) had been travelling from Cork to Waterford with four children, aged between six and 14, to attend the Winterval festival.
Just a few kilometres outside of Dungarvan, however, tragedy struck when their Citroen Picasso people carrier was hit by an oncoming vehicle.
Mary, who is originally from Churchfield, and Gary, who is originally from Cobh and who works for the Naval Service, were both seriously injured. The couple and one of the children were airlifted to CUH for emergency surgery.
Another child was also taken to CUH for treatment, while two others were taken to University Hospital Waterford.
The three occupants of the other vehicle, a Volkswagen Golf, were tragically killed as the car burst into flames after the crash.
Two of the men have been named locally as Waterford men Michael Tobin and Eamon Dixon. Unconfirmed reports suggest the third man was from Cork.
On Friday night, 29-year-old Farranree hairdresser Mandy O’Leary lost her life when her car spun out of control and hit a ditch on the N20 Cork to Limerick road roughly 10km outside of Cork city.
Tributes have been pouring in for Mandy on social media ahead of her funeral today.
The sixth person to die on the roads in recent days was an elderly man in his mid-70s who was killed on Thursday when his car collided with another vehicle in Kilkenny. The driver of the other car, who was in his 30s, was injured and taken to hospital.
Supt Lehane said that even one fatal accident is one too many and has appealed for people to be extra vigilant on the roads in the coming weeks as the weather worsens.
“Tragedies like this really bring home to everyone the importance of road safety. It only takes a split second for an accident to happen,” he said.
“I would appeal to people not to drink and drive under any circumstances and to always make sure to slow down and drive in accordance with prevailing road and weather conditions, especially now going forward into the winter months. We’re coming into long, dark nights and we’ll be meeting a lot of icy conditions, including black ice which you can’t see and is incredibly dangerous.” Sergeant Peter Murphy, who is based in Anglesea Street Garda Station, echoed the Superintendent’s plea.
“Driving can be challenging at the best of times but it is particularly challenging in winter conditions,” he said.
“Drivers are urged to use dipped headlights and to pay particular attention to their speed.” Anyone with any information about any of the aforementioned road accidents are asked to contact the Gardai immediately.