The deaths of five young men at a single corner of the Ballyquin Road between Dungiven and Limavady in recent years is “frightening and shocking”, road safety Minister Mark H Durkan has said.
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan, whose Department has responsibilty for road safety, was asked about collisions on the Ballyquin Road and collisions on the A26 by local MLA Cathal Ó hOisín.
That is a truly frightening and shocking statistic. I will work to address what is clearly an issue at that locationMark H Durkan
The Sinn Féin MLA asked Mr Durkan “to outline the measures he is taking to further promote road safety in these areas.”
The Minister said: “My Department continues to take a range of actions to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads.
“We focus on the key causes of road casualties and on groups that are over-represented in the casualty figures here in the North. These figures do not target specific geographies; rather, they are designed to target the most at-risk cohorts of the entire population and the biggest killer behaviours on our roads.”
He highlighted a new drink-driving regime, a new graduated driver licensing scheme and education programmes for young people.
Mr Ó hOisín asked a follow up question: “The Minister may be aware of a single corner on the Ballyquin Road in particular that has been the scene of five fatalities of young men in recent years. That corner was inexplicably removed from a realignment scheme some years ago. Will the Minister now work with the Minister for Regional Development to see that scheme expedited?”
Mr Durkan replied: “That truly is a frightening and shocking statistic.
“Certainly, as an elected representative, never mind as Minister with responsibility for road safety policy, I will work with you and with everyone to address what is clearly an issue at that location.
“I have gone on the record before in the Chamber about concerns that I had about, I suppose, the restructuring of Departments and where I foresaw potential problems.
“However, there are also opportunities, and I see one in the establishment of a new Department for Infrastructure that will subsume the road safety element of DOE. Then you will have in the same Department the people who are responsible for road safety and those who are responsible for the road network.
“This is very much the sort of thing that they have to look at. I am sure that the Member will return in the next mandate and will raise this issue with the Minister-to-be.
“As I said, hopefully, I will also return and will certainly lend my support to him in that.”