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Banbridge crossing patrol cutbacks questioned after two girls are injured in crash

By Allan Preston

Published 18/10/2016

The scene of the accident on the Scarva Road in Banbridge yesterday
The scene of the accident on the Scarva Road in Banbridge yesterday

Questions have been raised over why a crossing patrol in Banbridge was removed after two primary school girls were knocked down yesterday.

The St Mary's Primary School pupils are understood to be aged 10 and 11 and were hit by a car while crossing the Scarva Road on their way home from school.

Both received head injuries, with one also believed to have suffered a neck injury and a broken leg.

One was taken to Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital. Her injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

The other was taken to Craigavon Hospital and was described as being in a stable condition.

The crash took place near a church on the Scarva Road.

Banbridge DUP councillor Junior McCrum said cost-cutting measures 10 years ago to remove more than 30 crossing patrols in Banbridge needed to be reconsidered.

"How can you put a price on a child's life?" he asked.

"It's a very busy road with a lot of children going to the primary school there. There was a big discussion with the education board in Armagh 10 years ago on their cutbacks."

He added: "I hope that the two girls involved make a full recovery. I'm sure it's very difficult for their families."

St Mary's Primary principal Des O'Hagan told the BBC yesterday that the crash was "an accident waiting to happen" and the two girls "were very lucky to be alive".

DUP MLA for Upper Bann Carla Lockhart said she was seeking answers.

"I have put a priority question to the Minister of Infrastructure Chris Hazzard asking for an immediate safety assessment of the road," she said.

"I've also written to the chief executive of the Education Authority about the reinstatement of a lollipop person.

"No-one thinks they'll find themselves in that situation. You can picture the scene, two kids bouncing out of school full of energy.

"Our thoughts are with the family but also the driver who I'm sure is traumatised by it all."

Ms Lockhart said she would also be contacting the school shortly. "There'll be tears about it there so I'm very mindful of them," she said.

MP for Upper Bann David Simpson said: "Today we are faced with another incident involving a traffic collision with reports of two young children injured. Thankfully we are not talking about loss of young lives this evening."

"I would like to wish the two young children involved in this accident a speedy recovery."

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