Belfast Telegraph

Royal Mail van weaves in and out of funeral cortege in Northern Ireland - ‘It’s total disrespect’

By Jonathan Bell

Royal Mail bosses have launched an investigation after a grieving family claimed one of their van drivers weaved in and out of a funeral cortege.

The alleged incident happened on Saturday as relatives were taking their loved one - a mother and grandmother - on her final journey for Requiem Mass at All Saints Church in Ballymena.

Dash cam footage from one of the cars in the cortege was posted on social media.

Declan Stephens was drivingbehind the lead car with some of the deceased's closest family members.

He claims he was overtaken by the van just as he was about to exit the roundabout on the Cushendall Road and the driver proceeded to pass the lead car and then the hearse.

Dash cam footage from the lead car behind the hearse shows the van overtaking on the opposite side of the road.

Mr Stephens said: "The family were fuming... it was the first thing everyone was talking about when we got to the chapel."

"It's upsetting enough having to bury somebody without having the upset of an aggressive idiot driver.

"It was totally disgusting; anger does not come close to describing how I felt."

The 47-year-old, who has been driving most of his adult life, said the cortege was travelling around 15mph just before 10am.

He said: "He cut me up on the roundabout, was on the chevrons and forced me up the kerb.

"Had I not reacted quick enough I would have been into the side of him.

"It's just ignorance, total disrespect for the family, for the mourners and for other road users.

"This is the Cushendall Road, there are entrances to the estates and there could have been children playing."

Since posting about the incident on social media, Mr Stephens said he had received many messages of support voicing disgust at the incident.

Mr Stephens insisted "the least" Royal Mail could do was offer a letter of apology to the deceased woman's grieving husband.

"I have never come across anything that made me so angry or hurt me so much, considering the situation we were in, especially the hearse."

In a statement last night Royal Mail said: "We take our road safety responsibilities very seriously and are concerned to hear about this incident.

"We are currently in the process of investigating.

"We apologise for any distress caused and would like to thank Mr Stephens for bringing this to our attention."

Belfast Telegraph

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