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Bishop calls for an effective road safety policy

By Ann Marie Foley - 17 November, 2014

wtd 10406652_784616818261577_8948684613031322253_nAn effective road safety policy is a practical example of social justice working in our society, Bishop Liam McDaid has said.

“It is in the interest of the State to support this duty of care for the ‘common good’,” he stated on World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims.

The Bishop of Clogher reminded motorists that they exercise great power over their own lives and the lives of others when they get behind the wheel of a car.

“Prayer and reflection can change our driving behaviour, calm our aggression, remind us of the spiritual, moral and physical importance of what we are about to do,” he said.

The Bishop McDaid was giving the homily on Saturday evening in St Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan.

He remembered in a particular way the victims of road traffic accidents, their families and the emergency and medical staff who help.

He stated that road accidents can have so many contributory factors from speed, to alcohol, drugs, high jinks in the car, use of mobile phones, texting while driving, not wearing a seatbelt, or natural tiredness.

“Let us not allow anything dim our capacity to see others as Jesus sees them,” he cautioned. “Care for one another is a basic value which travels across different cultures and faiths.”

As Christians, the Bishop said, we know well that life is precious – “So let us value, live and protect life.”

He concluded with the following prayer:

Holy Mother, hear our prayer,
Keep us in your loving care,
Whatever the perils of the way,
Let us not add to them this day.
So to our caution and attention,
We add a prayer for your protection,
To beg God’s blessing on this car,
To travel safely near and far.

More than 160 people have lost their lives on Irish roads this year. Almost 24,000 people have died on Irish roads since records began in 1959.

Last year the numbers of those who died on Irish roads increased for the first time since 2005 – when 190 people lost their lives, compared to 162 in 2012.

Special memorial masses and ceremonies to remember those who have lost their lives were scheduled for counties Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Louth, Mayo, Sligo and Westmeath and elsewhere.

The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims is commemorated on the third Sunday of November each year – to remember the many millions killed and injured on the world’s roads, together with their families and many others also affected, as well as reflect on the tremendous burden and cost.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates there are 1.275 million road deaths annually around the world. WHO also estimates that for every person killed on our roads, another four suffer lifelong disabilities.

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