Mother and daughter killed in crash as safety chiefs hail drop in road deaths
A mother and daughter are believed to have been killed in a car crash as the Government and safety chiefs praised the fall in road deaths this year.
Gardai are investigating the accident which happened on the R667 Fermoy to Ballyduff Road in Co Cork at 11.20am.
Detectives said one of the dead women was in her 50s and the other in her 20s, while a woman driving the second car was not seriously injured.
It is understood the dead women's car clipped the other vehicle before coming off the road into a small river.
The tragedy occurred as new statistics were unveiled showing 154 people have been killed in road accidents in Ireland this year - a fall of 37 on last year.
Official figures compiled from Road Safety Authority and Garda reports showed there were 148 fatal accidents on the roads up to December 22, down almost a fifth on the same period last year.
Exposing the risks caused by a minority of people, gardai revealed 381 people have been arrested for intoxicated driving in a four-week crackdown.
Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said the reduction in road deaths was encouraging, but every death was one too many.
He warned of the almost inevitable fatalities on the country's roads over the Christmas holidays.
"It is estimated, however, that a further eight people may die over the Christmas period, further highlighting the fact that the opportunity is there for each and every one of us to prevent this from happening by making good choices, whether we are out walking, cycling, biking or driving," he said.
"But not only can we save more lives, we also have the possibility of making 2015 the safest year on our roads, since we began recording road deaths in 1959.
"Such an achievement would be a fitting tribute and mark of respect to the many thousands of people who have died or been injured on the road. So together let's make this Christmas a safe one and save lives."
Broken down into road user category, the official figures showed 69 drivers, 25 passengers, 31 pedestrians, 20 motorcyclists and nine cyclists died in accidents this year.
The biggest single reduction in deaths based on age profile was among children aged 15 and under - down to three from 15.
But road safety chiefs also warned that more than a quarter of drivers and almost a third of passengers killed on the roads were not wearing a seatbelt.
Moyagh Murdock, RSA chief executive, said: "It is very encouraging to see that there are fewer people killed on our roads in 2015 compared to last. I want to thank everyone for their efforts in making this happen because it is your achievement."
Ms Murdock said the improving statistics are little comfort to those who lost loved ones this year.