Monaghan Car crash

By | November 1, 2006

I’ve had two emails from relatives of the two passengers who died in the crash. They are extremely pissed off at the speculation that driver error was the cause of the crash. I don’t want to add to anyone’s pain and I’ve agreed to remove the post until the Garda investigation is complete. I’ve said if it transpires that speed or alcohol was a factor then I will put the post back up. If there was some non-driver related problem, like brake failure – then they have my apologies.

I’ve got a huge amount to say about this is in itself, never mind the crash, but I don’t want to upset more relatives, who to be fair, are traumatised. However, when the garda investigation is complete I’ll feel free to say more – about the crash – and censorship.

Update: Ok guys, the comments were getting out of hand there. Unfortunately there is no blogger manual for how to deal with situations like this. I am all for free speech but there is an extremely upset relative getting even more upset and we’re going to have to cool it. In the meantime I have deleted some of the more inflammotory comments and I have disabled any further commenting. We’re going to have to remember that there are grieving relatives.

15 thoughts on “Monaghan Car crash

  1. Daniel K.

    but isn’t that part of the problem with our so called national debate about car incidents? We avoid saying anything harsh to spare the bereaved and by the time the investigation has been completed the media attention has moved on to the next incident. And I think that if speed or alcohol or just plain acting the lad was a factor then you shouldn’t just repost but the ST should devote a whole page or two to outlining why we need to change our focus from the immediatelt bereaved to preventing more bereavement.

    Aren’t there is a motto like spare the rod and spoil the child and cruel to be kind that altered to fit the situation.

    And yes, I’m being cruel but I’m past worrying about those who are already died and am much more concerned about those who might be killed tomorrow, or next year.

  2. Sarah Post author

    Daniel, to be honest, I agree with you entirely. We are experts in denial. But I am under the kosh of emotional blackmail here and I suppose they can argue that there is a 1% chance that there was some mechanical failure and therefore we are pre-judging. I resent being censored and I fail to see what its going to achieve but what can you do? These people are traumatised. I guess we will have to wait until we get official word about the accident and then anything is fair comment.

  3. P O'Neill

    Sarah I agree that you had little choice, not least from trying to do the agreeable thing at this stage. Perhaps one way to proceed is to pursue the idea that as Daniel notes too, these “investigations” go down the memory hole very quickly.

  4. Angry Threemilehouse Resident

    Speculation is not helping anyone!

    Please leave the Garda to complete their investigation and leave the families to grieve.

    You should to be ashamed of yourselves.

  5. Bernie Goldbach

    I think about road safety with the hat I wore as an aircraft accident investigator. I have cleaned up dozens of bodies from tragic air disasters on two continents. We routinely issued factual updates at least fortnightly. The same should happen in this case, perhaps through blogs.

    Grieving families don’t have to read blogs. This blog is one of a dozen in Ireland discussing the head-on collision in Monaghan.

    Grieving families should not pervert the national need for better-informed drivers. Drivers learn from the results of discussion of all road incidents. Ireland ‘s reaction is to squash those discussions even though they could help prevent a similar tragedy.

  6. John of Dublin

    It’s only fair game to deal with the truth. It seems one of the young guys had a driving conviction so we speculate that the crash was a result of careless driving. I suppose we shouldn’t speculate. But you can’t help thinking that a head on crash was avoidable, it would seem that someone wasn’t being careful enough, unless as you say it was some unexpected event – mechanical failure, oil on road or something. It’s probably more helpful to comment on general behaviour rather than specifics until the experts analyse it.

  7. Sarah Post author

    David Byrne has a blog, or journal as he calls it. Paddy pointed me at it the other day for something else, but I liked this post he has on fairies.

    He talks about why people believe in fairies, but here’s an extract that seems appropriate

    “We tend to believe that it is the eye that sees, and the ear that hears. But those organs are merely the input devices — it is the brain that “sees” and “hears”. The brain can, in this case, choose to ignore obvious imperfections and evidence and see only what it wants to see. I don’t mean this in a metaphorical way — I mean it in an absolutely literal way — the brain only sees what it wants to see and disregards the rest. One can stare right at something and simply not see it. The contradictory information is simply not acknowledged. I don’t mean “seen and later denied”, but simply not seen at all. Denial is a built-in ability we have, it is essential for our survival….”

  8. fatmammycat

    Sarah, I read what you wrote and it was interesting and no more than what any of us were saying or ‘speculating’ about.
    I saw the photos of the cars same as everyone else, it looked shocking, terrible and fatal and my heart felt for the families. The questions we should be asking are what happened and why we are losing so any of our loved ones on the road. We are entitled to ask those questions. We speculate because that is what people do, as I’m sure we all specultated about Joe O’Reilly and Meg Walshe. When tragedy strikes hard it is human nature to ponder and to ask why and to wonder. We should not be brow beaten into apologising for it nor should we feel ashamed.
    And for the record, I am totally against censorship.And I will be damned in hell before I allow anyone to dictate to me what I write on my own blog, whether they are upset or not.

  9. CyberScribe

    I wonder if you were in a pub expressing your views to friends and overheard, would there be a similar reaction as that of the Angry Threemilehouse Resident.

    I only remember hearing the story mentioned briefly on the news, though we’ve had another 4 or 5 road deaths up here since. I’d have my personal views on them, even without any police investigations carried out and I’ll not say anymore as I could possibly offend other readers easily.


    Reminds me of a tune and the words could change to ‘Sometimes it’s hard to be a blogger’

  10. Twenty Major

    Speculation is not helping anyone!

    Please leave the Garda to complete their investigation and leave the families to grieve.

    You should to be ashamed of yourselves.

    I wonder how angry you would be if one of those cars had smashed head on into one driven by one of your family or friends.

  11. Bernie Goldbach

    I believe the mainstream press and local editors fuel irresponsible behaviour by failing to offer succinct and factual descriptions of road accidents within three working days of their occurrence. Within a day of a fatal accident back home in Pennsylvania last weekend, all the major news reports carried a short summary of the incident.

    If gardai do not wish to provide their notes, it’s very straightforward to commission independent forensics investigators who could draw conclusions from accident scenes. If their initial conclusions were incorrect, there are “corrections” pages to publish the revisions.

    Not learning from road accidents invites repeat occurrences. People need to know the conditions of dangerous roads when they first contribute to accidents. Drivers need to know about mechanical defects as they are first detected. Some of these conditions cause deaths. Not publicising the results of road deaths shunts the attention to quiet community testimonials that effectively enshrine the deceased.

    You can have a proper burial in Ireland even as a press pack hovers nearby. In matters relating to public health and safety, “respect” does not mean “total silence.”

    By the way, there is no denying the emotive digust in the twentysomething voices of the road safety podcasts we have made. Listen and learn to respect the roads we share.

  12. Daniel K.

    Actually, P O’Neill, I was thinking about this again when Charlie Bird did his list of fatalies on the road at the end of October. Why don’t RTE do a list of the causes of incidents instead covering the inquests or coroner’s reports? That would focus on the actual causes rather than feeding idle speculation, as I’ve pointed out the current media focus allows people to think whatever they want whether they have evidence for it or not.

  13. P O'Neill

    One problem with this crash is that since the principals are dead, there won’t be any criminal or civil proceedings that might otherwise force a precise detailing of what happened. That’s by contrast with this other Monaghan crash in the news today because of a dangerous-driving conviction — the jury believing that the driver was distracted by, amongst other things, a row over whether to play a Kylie Minogue tape.

  14. blankpaige

    Sarah, I think we should respect your decision to accede to the request of the family if for no other reason than that it demonstrates a responsibility that we don’t find in other media. When individuals are traumatised and grieving, they are (rightly) too wrapped in their grief to be disposed to calm, rational and objective analysis. Adding to the grief for the sake of allowing free speech only does the first – it adds to the grief. It doesn’t promote better debate.

    The issue is that with 400 deaths a year in road traffic accidents, it is not possible to have an accident-free period to allow the debate to take place. Hence we have to have the discussion and debate but point to less recent examples to articulate our points of view.

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