The deep tragedy of Tyrone schoolboy Ronan Wilson's road death in Donegal
The Irish News view: The appalling toll of loss and hurt on our roads must stop
EVERY death on our roads is a tragedy. The outpouring of tributes to young Ronan Wilson has been a desperate reminder of just how deeply a sudden road death can strike at the heart of a community.
Ronan, just nine years old, was killed after being knocked down by a car in Bundoran on Saturday evening.
The youngster was in the Co Donegal seaside town with his parents and siblings on a short break from their home at Kildress, near Cookstown. What should have been a happy family time away instead ended in unimaginable sorrow.
Roro, as his father, Dean, called his "main man, my hero and son", said he was "the best son anyone could ask for".
Ronan loved Gaelic football, playing for the Kildress Wolfe Tones U10 team. The club was a big part of Ronan's life, with his brother Calum and sister Amy also playing underage football for its teams.
Club chairman Dominic McGurk remembered Ronan as never having a ball out of his hand: "He was just mad about football." Mr McGurk undoubtedly spoke for many in Kildress and beyond when he described the sense of numbness and devastation from Ronan's death: "We are a big parish, at times like this everybody pulls together and everyone is devastated."
Eileen Ward, principal of St Mary's PS, Dunamore, said Ronan's death "will leave a huge void in the school".
"He was such a happy, caring and likeable boy, who we were privileged to have in our lives and our school," she said, remembering his lovely sense of humour and the twinkle in his eye.
"How lucky were we to have known Ronan, a beautiful, fun-loving soul, who has been taken from his family and his school far too soon," she said.
It is clear that Ronan Wilson's family, friends and community will never forget the joy he brought them.
It is also deeply tragic that there are others similarly suffering. Ronan's death was one of four fatalities on the Republic's roads over the weekend. In Northern Ireland, 48 people have been killed so far this year. It is an appalling toll of loss and hurt.
And even if we didn't personally know Ronan, the young Tyrone boy who made such a positive impression on all who knew him, or the others who have tragically died on our roads, we can each pay our own tribute by driving safely.