Clergy will bless Ireland's roads in bid to end carnage
Roads in the Republic are to be blessed in an attempt to reduce the carnage caused by traffic accidents.
The move by Catholic and Protestant clerics in the west of Ireland follows confirmation by gardai that road deaths in the region have risen in recent years, while figures for fatalities nationally have been falling.
Speeding in 80kph and 100kph zones had been identified as a major factor in fatalities in road fatalities in the west.
The special 'Blessing of the Roads Ceremony' will take place at services in most Catholic and Church of Ireland parishes in Co Mayo on Easter Sunday as religious leaders back the local county council's campaign to make the roads safer.
"The Blessing of the Roads Ceremony takes places in parts of Australia each year to raise local awareness of road safety, and we are bringing it to Mayo this year," said Noel Gibbons, road safety officer with Mayo County Council.
Rev Val Rogers of Westport said the trauma of road crashes was devastating for families.
Gardai say that reducing the strength of the force's traffic corps is "most likely" costing lives on the Republic's roads.