GARDAI have used the launch of a new road safety campaign to pay tribute to the 14-year-old schoolboy who died following a crash at the weekend.
Jamie Doherty lost his life when the car he was driving crashed near Moville on Friday.
Launching the annual safety campaign ahead of the start of the Donegal Rally, Garda Inspector Michael Harrison said a community had been left devastated by the teenager’s death.
“The tragedy that occurred at the weekend has left a family and the local community devastated. A young boy has tragically lost his life and our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this very sad time,” Inspector Harrison said.
“The Donegal International is the biggest motor sport event in the Republic of Ireland, it is an event that attracts large crowds of spectators and visitors to the county.
“An Garda Síochána will have an operation in place to police the rally and we ask all those attending to comply with any requests made by gardaí policing the stages. The operation is about keeping the event safe for all attending and participating. We appeal to all those coming to the Donegal to drive safely and not engage in any unsafe driving, please enjoy the weekend and Keep The Race in its Place.”
The Donegal Road Safety Working Group said it too was hoping for a tragedy-free few days.
“The Rally enthusiasts are predominantly young men, and we want to get the message directly to this ‘at risk’ group who follow the sport,” said Brian O’Donnell, Road Safety Officer with Donegal County Council.
“Large numbers are expected to attend the Donegal Rally, and we want to emphasise the importance of safety, both on the rally course and on the open road. Anyone attending the rally will be getting the message that safety always takes precedence above everything else. The Keep the Race in its Place message reminds people to only watch the stages from designated safety zones, never to enter prohibited areas, at all times to strictly adhere to the speed limits, always wearing your seatbelt, and never drive after consuming alcohol or drugs.
“Unfortunately there are also those who arrive for the weekend who have no interest in the rally and are only intent in causing trouble for the gardaí and ordinary members of the public who use the roads. This is a great opportunity to again showcase what Donegal has to offer visitors from other parts of the country. We want everyone to enjoy the weekend and do not want to see the weekend turn into a tragedy for any family or community and we would encourage all fans to drive with care,” Mr O’Donnell added.