Belfast Telegraph

Family of eight-year-old killed as he walked to school in Cloughmills blame Board for his death

Siblings won't return to school after crash unless bus takes them

By Chris Kilpatrick

The distraught family of an eight-year-old boy killed as he walked to school say they blame the education authorities for his death.

Adam Gilmour, his mother and five siblings were struck by a car as they walked along a country road to meet a school bus.

Heartbroken relatives of the child accused the North Eastern Education and Library Board of failing to act on Adam's mother's pleas for public transport weeks before the horror crash.

They vowed none of his siblings would be returning to school until a bus service was put in place.

Education Minister John O'Dowd yesterday began an investigation into the incident, instructing the board to compile a report on the case.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the family said they feared Adam's mother Sarah may never walk again after the smash.

They said she has no recollection of the incident and had told them she was currently unable to contemplate attending the youngster's funeral.

His grandmother told how Adam's nine-year-old brother Kyle ran to her house screaming for help moments after the crash.

She said she will never recover from the scene she encountered.

"The education board must get something done for children in rural areas, not just my own family," Marlene Hanna said.

"It has to be done for everybody who has wee children walking the roads.

"I don't want to lose any more grandchildren. I blame the board, absolutely." Aunts of Adam said they were furious Tuesday's tragedy wasn't prevented.

Michelle Johnston said: "Sarah and me told them weeks ago this would happen.

"I blame the education board. If Sarah walks again it will be a miracle.

"All for something as simple as a bus going up a road.

"Some of the kids come home in a bus to the yard, but they refuse to get them in the morning."

Last month Sarah had urged the local education board to provide transport along the road, fearing her children's lives were at risk.

Mr O'Dowd's department has begun an investigation into how that request was handled.

He said: "I was very saddened to learn of the tragic fatal accident involving the family of pupils on their way to Clough Primary School yesterday.

"My thoughts lie entirely with the children and their mother and wider family circle.

"It would be inappropriate for me to comment specifically on the details of the accident as I understand that a police investigation is under way.

"I have also asked my officials to seek a report from the North Eastern Education and Library Board."

Another aunt, Colleen Higgins, added: "Something has to be done, but it's too little, too late."

An 18-year-old male driver has been released on police bail following the tragedy.

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