The stretch of the N2 between Monaghan Town and Ashbourne saw 22 fatal vehicle collisions in nine years between 2005 and 2013 – and accidents appear just as likely now, four years on.
Statistics available on the Road Safety Authority’s online Road Collision Map, show that there were 22 fatal crashes between the two points on the national primary road in that period – as well as 29 serious but non-fatal incidents. The RSA’s map does not illustrate figure beyond the end of 2013 but the spotlight is once again on the N2, especially north of Ardee after Friday morning’s horror smash that left three women from Donegal dead.
Margaret McGonigle (69) from Castlereagh in Bruckless Co. Donegal, daughter Mairead Munday (39) and her friend Rachel Battles (37), both from Ballyloughan in Bruckless, died instantly in the three car collision that took place shortly before 1am this morning at Aclint Bridge between Ardee and Carrickmacross.
Speaking at the scene yesterday, Ardee Gardai Superintendent Fergus Traynor said “It was a very substantial accident. It was a tough scene.
“The road was wet but it wasn’t raining at the time of the accident,” he added. “Later, weather conditions deteriorated horrendously with very heavy rain at the scene,” he said. In a statement, Fianna Fail TD for Louth Declan Breathnach felt the road needed to be upgraded. “The road was wet at the time of the accident, however, this is a road that has been highlighted as dangerous as it has claimed a number of lives over the past number of years,” he said.
“While it is a good wide road with many straight stretches, it needs to be a dual carriageway.”
The N2 north of Ardee has for years been considered a danger to motorists with numerous calls made for safety upgrades including middle traffic barriers and filter lanes approaching junctions.
Of the 22 fatal collisions that occurred between 2005 and 2013, 13 were between Castleblayney and Slane – with nine north of Ardee between the town and Castleblayney. Since January 2016, eight people have died on the N2 between Hunterstown just south of Ardee and Castleblayney.
That list includes local cousins Kathy McDonald and Josie Duff who died after disembarking a bus at the Hunterstown Inn in January of this year. A major multi-vechiel collision also occurred between Ardee and Collon earlier in the year.
The Irish Times reported on Friday that the Government consider the stretch of the N2 north of Ardee a “high collision location”. They say Minister for Transport Shane Ross has previously stated the purchase of land for improvement work on the N2 – further north, between Monaghan Town and Emyvale on the Border, is ongoing.