THE mother of a four-year-old boy who died after a drunk driver collided with her car has spoken to students in Limerick, warning them to never drink and drive.
Gillian Treacy, whose son Ciaran died when her car was hit by a vehicle being driven by Finbarr O’Rourke, 40, was at the South Court Hotel as part of the annual Lifesaver Project show, which targets young students about to start driving, or already travelling in cars driven by their peers.
At the event, Gillian read out the harrowing victim impact statement she gave to the court ahead of O’Rourke’s sentencing.
As part of the garda-led initiative, the 800 students present saw a real-life reconstruction of a car accident, plus testimonies from emergency staff who have been witness to road accidents.
Speaking to reporters before the event, Gillian said: “These people are going to be our future drivers, and I think they need to know now the impact of drunk driving and all the other issues surrounding dangerous driving”.
On a personal level, Gillian – who was also seriously injured in the April 2014 collision – says she is “surprisingly strong”.
“The strength is coming from somewhere. We have been to hell and back since this accident,” she added.
And she feels students seeing a victim of a road accident “in the flesh” will make more difference than watching films about it.
“They need to hear it from the person’s mouth that they have gone through this. The visual impact is more important than words,” said the Portarlington woman.
Now in its ninth year, the Lifesaver Project ran over two days – one for students from the county, and the other for city students.