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Grieving friends of crash girls launch internet campaign to save lives

FRIENDS of the four young girls who died in a horror crash in November have petitioned the Department of Transport to improve the road conditions at the notorious accident blackspot that claimed their lives.

Marie Conneely, Teresa Molloy, Sorcha Rose McLoughlin (all 19) and Sarah Byrne (20) died when their car smashed into a truck in heavy rain last November.

The Coyne's Corner area on the N17 road between Ballindine and Milltown on the Galway/ Mayo border is a notorious accident blackspot, and in spite of the untimely deaths of the four young women, the road has not been improved.

Since the accident, a neon warning sign has been erected to warn motorists of the dangerous bends, but the area was the scene of another accident just last week. Although there were no fatalities, concern has mounted among locals eager to prevent another catastrophe.

The Department of Transport has stated that a larger road will be built in the near future to replace the accident scene.

"The section of the N17 between Tuam and Claremorris is currently being developed as a major scheme by Galway County Council.

"When constructed, it will replace the section of the N17 where the tragic accident involving the four students occurred," a spokesperson said.

The Facebook group has accumulated an average of 1,000 supporters per day with over 6,500 members in total.

Its founder, Louise Concannon (20), set up the group just five days ago in memory of her first cousin and close friend, Sarah Byrne.



Tough

"I thought it would be nice to try and do something memorable for the girls. It's tough enough losing Sarah, but maybe we can help to save other lives as well," she told the Herald.

"The supporters are from all over the country, it's incredible. I didn't expect this at all.

"It has also turned into a place for people to offer their sympathies to the families."

After the accident, Teresa's mother, Cathy, called for more warning signs in the area.

"If the road was safe I don't think it would have happened. If there had been signs up warning the kids that it was an accident blackspot and they needed to slow down, they would have seen them," she said.

She said that while the bad weather was a factor in the accident, the dangerous bend on the road was the other determining factor.

cmcbride@herald.ie