Clerics in Co. Mayo blessed the county’s roads on Easter Sunday in a novel ceremony aimed at reducing the number of people who die in traffic accidents each year.
A special Blessing of the Roads ceremony took place at Catholic and Church of Ireland churches in Mayo on Easter Sunday and is been promoted by the Road Safety office of Mayo County Council.
“The Blessing of the Roads Ceremony takes places in parts of Australia each year to raise local awareness of road safety, and we are bringing it to Mayo this year,” said Noel Gibbons, Mayo Road Safety Officer.
He pointed out that six people were killed on Mayo’s roads last year. The total so far this year is three.
Rev. Val Rogers, The Rectory, Westport said: “The trauma of road crashes to families and communities is devastating. A major focus of the campaign is to promote the issue of driver fatigue, drink-driving and speeding, as well as praying for the safety of not only all road users, but our Gardai and emergency services.”
Appeal to parents and guardians
Chief Superintendent Barry O’Brien said: “An Garda Siochana appeal to all road users to think safety every time they use the public roads and streets.
“We urge families to discuss the topic so that parents and guardians assume and accept responsibility to alert their sons and daughters of their obligation to drive within all legal boundaries.
“In circumstances where parents have supported their child with a means of transport or insurance there should be conditions attached to the use of such vehicle including the legal obligations on young permit holder drivers.”
Tuam archdiocese spokesperson, Fr Fintan Monaghan, said the church was fully behind the campaign. “We all need to play our part to reduce the number of road deaths.”
The proposed prayer is a variation on this old Irish blessing:
The Motorist’s Prayer
Grant me a steady hand
And a watchful eye
That no person may be hurt
When I pass by,
Thou gavest life
I pray no act of mine
May take away or mar
That act of Thine.