Belfast Telegraph

Woman dies in road smash and MLA pleads for gritters as temperatures fall

By Joanne Sweeney

A woman has been killed following a one-vehicle crash in Co Fermanagh.

The collision involved a red Vauxhall Vectra between Belleek and Kesh at around 2pm yesterday.

The Boa Island Road was still closed near its junction with Letter Road late last night with diversions put in place.

Fermanagh councillor Raymond Farrell said: "This is absolutely awful to learn of the death of this woman. No words can adequately express the feelings of sheer sadness we all feel for this family, particularly in the Christmas holiday period. I know the heartfelt prayers of many will be with the family at this time."

The woman was the 79th person to die on Northern Ireland's roads this year.

Meanwhile, an Assembly member has said that drivers have told him of their fears that a notorious road with a reputation as an accident blackspot is not being properly gritted.

The Met Office said temperatures were expected to plunge to as low as -10C last night - making it Northern Ireland's coldest night of the year.

However, Northern Ireland is likely to be the first UK region to return to milder weather from tomorrow.

Transport NI said there was a risk of frost and ice on roads today, as well as mist and freezing fog. It forecast a minimum road surface temperature of -7C.

North Antrim MLA Daithi McKay said he had received complaints that parts of the A26 had not been gritted on Saturday night. The A26 Frosses Road links Ballymena and Ballymoney and has seen a number of fatalities in recent years.

Mr McKay said there were also concerns about the Largy Line road from Randalstown to Portglenone. "I was told that there was a lot of accidents and near misses, particularly on the A26," the Sinn Fein MLA said.

"People were concerned that all the roads that were supposed to be gritted weren't gritted or the gritters weren't out early enough. In some places, they weren't out until after 5pm on Saturday.

"If there is pressure on the Roads Service to cover the gritting schedule, then we need to know about that as people are assuming that the roads are safe."

Transport NI said roads on the scheduled network, which includes the A26, were salted yesterday and further salting for roads at risk is planned for this morning. However, it said parts of Benview Park in Belfast were not treated last night due to parked cars.

Yesterday, a family had a lucky escape after their car overturned on ice as it passed through a peace line at Lanark Way in west Belfast.

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