Priest pleads with young
drivers to slow down

The priest who celebrated the funeral of Gavin Doyle has appealed to young drivers in Longford to take more time on the roads.

The priest who celebrated the funeral of Gavin Doyle has appealed to young drivers in Longford to take more time on the roads.

Speaking to a packed church of mourners at last Sunday’s funeral mass, Fr Tom Barden begged drivers to take more care on the roads. “I am absolutely appealing to you, in the name of God, yourselves, of your friends and your parents to take more care and more time.”

“We always say you can’t put an old head on young shoulders and that is true. Young men are testing themselves and their cars are simply too fast. What I am asking the young people here today is to think about this: You don’t react well to being told, but think about it for yourselves.

“Don’t go out to race. We do not want to back here again or in another church saying the same things.”

Fr Barden also revealed he had an accident near to the spot in Stonepark where the two men tragically lost their lives. “Not too far from there, I crashed into the back of another car that was parked. I never saw it because I had glanced at a mobile phone.

“I am nearly 60 years of age. I should have known better, I didn’t and though I survived the two cars were written off. I would appeal to the young people who are with us to try and be that bit more careful,” he pleaded.

Ninety-one people have now been killed on the roads so far this year, up from 82 at the same time last year. The Road Safety Authority has described the rise in fatalities as a serious concern as we approach July – statistically the worst month for deaths on Irish roads.

“The greatest risk that we now face on the roads is complacency. So we would ask every road user to take greater personal responsibility for their safety on the road. If you are a driver this means slowing down and driving at a speed suitable for the environment and conditions, wearing a seatbelt and ensuring your passengers are wearing theirs too,” a spokesperson for the RSA told the Leader in the aftermath of Friday’s tragedy.

Fr Barden also called on the government to introduce speed restrictions on cars. “The answer to it all is there but nobody will grasp the nettle to have cars that won’t go over a certain speed. Speed limits are okay, but they are not the answer. The powers that be (Government) won’t grasp that nettle because they will lose revenue and money. Look at all the lives it would save,” he said.