Northern Ireland

Cloughmills crash: Grandmother blames education board

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Media captionAdam's grandmother Marlene said "I fully and totally, 101%, blame the education board."

The grandmother of a boy killed in a road crash has blamed an education and library board for his death.

Adam Gilmour died in hospital after his mother and her six children were knocked down as they walked to meet a school bus at Cloughmills, on Tuesday.

The bus leaves some of the children home but does not pick them up there.

The North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) has not explained why the children were not picked up at the same place they were left off.

Adam's grandmother, Marlene Hanna, said: "I full and totally, 101%, blame the education board."

MLA Jim Allister said on Tuesday that he wrote to the NEELB on the children's mother behalf, after she complained that the education authority "refused" to provide school transport to collect her children closer to their home.

Ms Hanna said: "My daughter has fought to get those children lifted at the gate.

"They can leave Adam and Kyle and Reece home at three o'clock, right to their door, but do not lift them in the morning, for that few yards up that road."

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Image caption Adam Gilmour died in hospital after the crash

Adam's mother and a sibling are in a stable condition at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

Ms Hanna said when she arrived at the scene, "babies were lying everywhere".

The schoolboy was killed after being struck by a car in County Antrim.

The principal of Clough Primary School described him as a "character".

Craig Whyte said: "Adam was a pleasant pupil. He enjoyed his playtimes, break-time and lunch-time and loved PE.

"He loved his life and his time at school. He was such a character to his classmates. They just knew him as being that fun-loving guy who kept them going at times."

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Media captionCraig Whyte, principal of Clough Primary School, said Adam "loved his life"

Mr Whyte said the children had been making cards for the family.

"It really hit the school hard. This morning we had a special assembly to remember Adam, but we were also remembering the rest of his family," he said.

Three of Adam's siblings were treated at Antrim Area Hospital and have been discharged. A sixth child did not need hospital treatment.

An 18-year-old man who was arrested has been released on police bail.

Education Minister John O'Dowd said he has asked his officials to seek a report from the North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB).

"I was very saddened to learn of the tragic fatal accident involving the family of pupils on their way to Clough Primary School yesterday," he said.

"My thoughts lie entirely with the children and their mother and wider family circle.

"It would inappropriate for me to comment specifically on the details of the accident as I understand that a police investigation is under way."

The statement follows a claim by North Antrim MLA Jim Allister that the woman had contacted him last month to raise safety concerns about the road.

'No footpath'

He said the woman had warned him that her family would be "wiped out" some morning on their way to school.

"She described how every morning she was having to walk six young children down a country road with no footpath, into Cloughmills, because the school bus wouldn't come up the road to pick them up," he said.

Mr Allister said he wrote to NEELB on her behalf, after she complained that the education authority "refused" to provide school transport to collect her children closer to their home.

In a statement, the NEELB confirmed that it had received correspondence from Mr Allister and had "been reviewing transport provision in the Cloughmills area".

The board added that it had agreed to meet the MLA to discuss the concerns he raised.

However, Mr Allister said he had only heard about that meeting on Tuesday, after the fatal crash.

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