Clerics in Co. Mayo will this weekend bless the county's roads in a novel ceremony aimed at reducing the number of people who die in traffic accidents each year.
A special ‘Blessing of the Roads Ceremony' will take place in most parishes and Services throughout the County on Easter Sunday as religious leaders back the campaign to make the roads safer.
The ceremony, which will place at all Catholic and Church of Ireland churches on Sunday next, is been promoted by the Road Safety office of Mayo County Council.
"The Blessing of the Roads Ceremony takes places in parts of Australia each year to raise local awareness of road safety, and we are bringing it to Mayo this year," said Mr Gibbons, who added that six people were killed on Mayo's roads last year. The total so far this year is three.
He added: "The community makes improved road safety a goal in an effort to ensure that the grief associated with loss of life, or serious injury, does not come to them.
"This is not the first year we have done the Blessing of the Roads Ceremony in Co. Mayo and we have get a very enthusiastic response. There are still too many drivers under the impression that an accident won't happen to them.
Rev. Val Rogers, The Rectory, Westport said "The trauma of road crashes to families and communities is devastating. A major focus of the campaign is to promote the issue of driver fatigue, drink-driving and speeding, as well as praying for the safety of not only all road users, but our Gardai and emergency services."
Chief Superintendent O' Brien said ‘'An Garda Siochana appeal to all road users to think "Safety" every time they use the public roads and streets.
We urge families to discuss the topic so that Parents and Guardians assume and accept responsibility to alert their sons and daughters of their obligation to drive within all legal boundaries.
In circumstances where Parents have supported their child with a means of transport or insurance there should be conditions attached to the use of such vehicle including the legal obligations on young permit holder drivers.''
Tuam archdiocese spokesperson Fr Fintan Monaghan said the church was "fully behind the campaign. We all need to play our part to reduce the number of road deaths."
The proposed prayer is a variation on this old Irish blessing:
The Motorist's Prayer
Grant me a steady hand
And a watchful eye
That no person may be hurt
When I pass by,
Thou gavest life
I pray no act of mine
May take away or mar
That act of Thine.