15 September 2011
In the next few weeks, hundreds of high-visibility vests will be distributed in County Mayo to over 100 churches by Mayo County Council as part of a new road safety campaign. The visibility vests, detailing a road safety message for drivers, will be available from churches throughout Mayo for funeral undertakers to loan to volunteers who marshal traffic at funerals on often dark and remote Country roads.
Archdiocese of Tuam spokesperson Father Fintan Monaghan said that the Catholic Church in the diocese was “fully behind the campaign. We all need to play our part to make our roads safer. So far in 2011 130 people have lost their lives on the Republic’s roads. This loss of human life is heart-breaking for the loved ones of the deceased and a tragedy for society as a whole. I ask all road users to exercise particular vigilance in terms of safety and to be extra-responsible on the roads over the winter months. I especially urge motorists to take time to pray before driving.”
Mr Noel Gibbons, Mayo County Council road safety officer, said “With clocks going back an hour in a few weeks, it was an opportune time to begin a road safety campaign. As evenings become darker people should remember the importance of being clearly visible to drivers. Despite the falling number of road deaths in recent years, lives continue to be lost on Irish roads. We need to take every precaution to protect ourselves. Concentration by all road users: drivers and pedestrians, could prevent road deaths. Visibility can be hampered during the winter so it is important that we take responsible measures. Pedestrians can take a first step by wearing a high visibility vest. It may not be fashionable, but could save your life.”
Garda Inspector Joe Doherty said, “More than two-thirds of fatal pedestrian collisions happen at night. Although you can hear a car coming and see its lights, the driver may not see you. In the course of the next few weeks there will be high-visibility vests distributed free of charge to prevent the loss of life or injury on our roads. We strongly advise that people make use of them. Simply put: ‘hi vis’ vests can lives.
Funeral undertaker Mr Michael Kilcoyne welcomed the initiative saying, “I commend Mayo County Council for coming up with this idea and for seeing this initiative through. Maintaining visibility on the road is a constant concern for funeral removals in the countryside. The key message is that road safety is paramount.’’
Notes to Editors
• Archdiocese of Tuam: Archbishop Michael Neary is the Archdiocese of Tuam. The archdiocese includes half of the counties of Mayo (including the Marian Shrine of Knock) and Galway, and part of County Roscommon. The patron saint of the archdiocese is Saint Jarlath, it has a Catholic population of over 121,000, 57 parishes, 131 churches and the Cathedral of the Assumption, the metropolitan cathedral of the Western Province, is located in Tuam.
• Prayer for motorists before driving:
Before I take my place behind the wheel
I pray, O Sacred Heart – Guide me on my way.
Virgin Mary, Morning Star, from every danger guide this car.
Thou dear Lord who gave it to enjoy,
Grant that its purpose be to save and not destroy.
• Breakdown of 2011 road fatalities to date in the Republic of Ireland (source: An Garda Síochána):
Pedal Cyclists: 9
Pillion Passenger: 1
Total Year to Date: 130
Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444