Stormont meeting over road deaths in Northern Ireland

Mark H Durkan Mark H Durkan has called an urgent meeting after police said NI was facing an 'road safety emergency'

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The minister responsible for road safety in Northern Ireland has called an urgent meeting after five fatalities in the first 10 days of the new year.

The number of road deaths this month is already the same as the toll for the whole of January last year.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan will meet members of the Northern Ireland Road Safety Forum on Tuesday.

The meeting has been organised after a senior police officer said NI was facing a "road safety emergency".

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster, Mr Durkan said: "I will be looking at agencies and looking to hear from agencies as to what they feel they can do to promote road safety even further.

"All of these agencies do work hard to do so, and ultimately I think it's important that the message goes out - while government is keen and will do everything it can to improve road safety, ultimately responsibility lies with road users as well."

'Carnage'

At a press conference on Saturday, PSNI Supt David Moore said: "We've had someone dying on our roads every 48 hours in the early days of 2014.

"That's a month's worth of carnage in a little over a week and five families torn apart."

A 58-year-old man died in a collision with a car in south Armagh on Friday.

On the same day, a 22-year-old Dunmurry man was killed after the stolen car he was driving was involved in a collision with a van on the outskirts of south Belfast.

Supt Moore said that Northern Ireland's road safety new year resolution was "broken already".

'Terrible anguish'

"Five deaths already is far too much and we need the collective efforts of everyone in Northern Ireland to bring this to an end now."

In Armagh on Sunday, Catholic Archbishop Eamon Martin has used Masses to urge parishioners to take extra care on the roads.

"We all have a responsibility to exercise care and attention on the roads," he said.

"If all of us made a late new year's resolution to improve our use of the roads, whether that be as drivers, pedestrians or cyclists, then some families will be spared the terrible anguish of losing a loved one this year."

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