EDITOR'S BLOG: Families left picking up the pieces after road tragedies

Michael Scott

Reporter:

Michael Scott

Email:

editor@ulstergazette.co.uk

THIS week the Ulster Gazette has been speaking to several families who have lost loved ones on our roads.

Many of our readers will be familiar with the story of Lesley-Ann McCarragher, who was tragically killed in 2016 when she was out for a run.

Nathan Finn, who was uninsured and had no licence, sped from the scene, leaving Lesley-Ann at the side of the road. He was jailed for nine years but on appeal had his sentence cut by 12 months.

Lesley-Ann's family have been campaigning, along with the family of Omagh teenager Enda Dolan, for tougher sentences for death drivers. This week they take their message to Justice Minister, Naomi Long and we have been speaking to them ahead of their meeting.

Separately, Niall Crozier has been talking to the families of Mary and Kevin Faxton, from Bessbrook, and Bryan Magill. The Faxtons were killed when a car driven by Keith Lennon, 21, from Dromintee ploughed into the back of them. Bryan, known as 'Bru', was a passenger in Lennon's car but, as his family have explained, he did not know the driver and had merely accepted a lift.

Yvonne Magee, Bryan's mum, says that she feels 'nothing' for her son's killer. Referring to the fact that Lennon fled the scene after the accident, she said: “These deaths need never have happened; he could have stopped at any time. Even if he had phoned an ambulance, that would have been something. But to just run away…”

Their stories are a tough read, but there is an important message in them that every young motorist should be made to take heed of. Our thanks go to the families for speaking and our condolences continue to be with them.

Elsewhere, I've been looking at a new report commissioned by Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Council at how the area can recover economically from the impact of COVID-19. The report, compiled by KPMG, says Armagh's untapped tourism potential needs to be unleashed and that infrastructure links to the city need to be improved.

It will be interesting to see if this report can gee up any hopes of getting the link roads constructed, or indeed if the much-talked about rail link between Armagh and Portadown can be moved down the tracks.

Finally from me, many thanks to all of you who sent in your snowy scenes at the weekend. We have included a few of them inside this week's Gazette, and you'll be able to see more during the week on our website, so keep an eye out!

This week's Gazette is in the shops from Tuesday morning and also available online through our digital newstand. For more details see our home page.

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