2016 Leading Lights Winners


‘Road Safety Ambassador’ Award:  Treacy Family

In April 2014, Gillian Treacy and her two sons were involved in a collision with a drunk driver. This collision claimed the life of Gillian and her husband Ronan’s 4-year-old son, Ciarán. Gillian delivered an incredibly emotional Victim Impact Statement on the day the individual who collided with their car was sentenced. This statement captured the attention of the media and nation and refocused society’s attention on the impact of drink driving. Two years since the tragedy, the Treacy family are working with the RSA in an effort to eliminate drink driving from our roads. They recently featured in a new ‘Crashed Lives’ ad campaign with the RSA and fronted the RSA and An Garda Síochána 2016 Christmas and New Year Anti Drink Driving Campaign.



‘Business’ Award:       Sixt Rent a Car

Sixt Rent a Car is one of the world’s leading car rental brands. In 2015, the company experienced massive growth in sales which coincided with a rise in the number of serious collisions, one of which resulted in a fatality. Following an analysis of these incidents, Sixt developed a driver education and awareness campaign to address the identified causes of theses collisions, including driving on the left-hand side, merging onto a main road and roundabouts. A character known as ‘Sammy Sixt’, was developed to front the campaign, along with literature, badges, stickers, animations and a bracelet for drivers to wear on their left wrist as a reminder to always drive on the left. Fifteen months into the project and after almost 500,000 days of driving there has been a 66% decrease in serious collisions. There have been no copyrights or patents placed on any of the campaign collateral in an effort to encourage other car rental companies to adopt the campaign.



‘Public Sector’ Award:           Cork City Fire Department

Cork City Fire Department is an active member of the Road Safety Working Group for Cork City and County. Every year, they - along with a number of other agencies - take part in a two-day education initiative for transition year students, delivered to 2,000 students each year. Each year the Fire Department delivers a presentation to the first-year students of Cork Institute of Technology on road traffic collisions. Cork City Fire Department vehicles and fire station doors all bear branding relating to road collisions and promoting safe road behaviour. Cork City Fire Department contributed to the Cork Road Safety Action Plan 2016-2020 which was launched earlier this year and have identified key areas of action where they plan to make significant improvements to road safety in Cork.



‘Emergency Services’ Award:   Roxboro Road Garda Station, Community Policing Unit

In the past year, the Community Policing Unit at Roxboro Road Garda Station have visited approximately ten schools within their district and spoken to hundreds of students about road safety. Each school received four visits throughout the school year during which Gardaí gave road safety talks and practical demonstrations to the pupils. Students were provided with hi vis equipment, with over 2,000 items distributed over the course of the year. Members of the Community Policing Unit conducted spot checks at each school throughout the year to ensure the equipment was being put to good use. The initiative was welcomed by school principals, teacher, parents and most importantly students. Following the positive feedback from community, the initiative will be rolled out again for the 2017/2018 school term.



‘Local Media’ Award:             South East Radio, ‘Give Your Phone the Boot’ 

‘Give your Phone the Boot’ is a new initiative developed by South East Radio to highlight the dangers of mobile phone use while driving. Drivers were asked to place their mobile phone in the boot of their car to avoid temptation and distraction while driving. The campaign was launched on 29 April with a special dedicated broadcast of the Morning Mix. South East Radio used statistics from the RSA to create promotional soundbites. One feature saw reporter, Saoirse McGarrigle, carry out a controlled experiment to see how texting impacted on her driving. The campaign was supported across South East Radio’s social media profiles and players from Wexford Youths and local businesses also supported the initiative. Experts say it takes 21 days to break a habit so a 21-day countdown promotion ran on South East Radio to remind people to Give their Phone the Boot and break the habit. South East Radio wanted their listeners to ‘Give their Phone the Boot!’ because when your phone is in the boot, you are safer, your family is safer and everyone on the road is safer.



‘National Media’ Award:       RTÉ Documentary on One, ‘We Decide Who Lives or Dies’

‘We Decide Who Lives or Dies’ radio documentary was first broadcast on RTÉ Radio One in August 2016. Following a number of news reports in early 2016 relating to driver behaviour, particularly in Donegal, reporter Ronan Kelly decided to produce a documentary on the subject. The documentary hoped to give an insight into the behaviour of young drivers in Donegal. Over the course of two trips to Donegal the team recorded interviews with those who are working in the community to improve driver behaviour and young drivers. In the week between the two visits, five people died on the roads around Letterkenny which gave the programme added relevance and poignancy. The programme received widespread praise and detailed coverage in the local press in Donegal for its factual approach on what is a contentious issue.



‘Education (Pre-Primary)’ Award:      Kilcloon Preschool, Batterstown, Co Meath

‘Traffic Light Day’ is an education initiative developed by Kilcloon Preschool staff, where children who attend the pre-school learn about road safety by painting traffic lights and learning what the colours mean. Each child is given a hi vis jacket and the rules of the road are explained in simple, fun ways. The children learn by playing and interacting with toy cars, model traffic signals and road markings which are marked out on the preschool playground. The children are taught to ‘listen with your ears and see with your eyes’.



‘Education (Primary)’ Award:           St. Benin's Girls National School, Duleek, Co Meath 

In May 2016, 4th and 5th class pupils began a road safety initiative to reduce the number of people using their mobile phone while driving. A large proportion of the pupils had witnessed this behaviour while in the car with their parents. The pupils developed plastic pockets in which they placed a poem (composed by the pupils) encouraging drivers to place their phone in the pockets while driving. They also addressed over 600 of their schoolmates in an effort to gain their support for the project. The pupils were supported by their teacher Ms Ní Chuinn as well as Community Garda Aisling Connor and Meath County Council Road Safety Officer, Michael Finnegan. Over 5,000 plastic pockets have been distributed to children in East Meath and a plan is being developed to spread this initiative further.



‘Education (Secondary)’ Award:        Take Care! Be Internationally Road Aware 

‘Take Care! Be Internationally Road Aware’ came about as a result of a trip Aisha McAuliffe made to America with her family. Aisha and her classmate Mark Lynes recognised that differences such as road markings and speed limits must be an issue for tourists when they come to Ireland. In May 2015, Aisha and Mark along with their teacher Derry Donovan, approached 18 car rental companies to gather data on what information these companies were providing to tourists and to find out what issues tourists face on Irish roads. They also looked at the information provided by the RSA and Fáilte Ireland to foreign drivers. From this the team produced a report, the findings of which were featured in an article in the Irish Examiner. Since then, both Aisha and Mark have interned with car rental company, Europcar, over the summer where they designed a blog and posted tips and advice for anyone traveling to Ireland.



‘Education (Third Level)’ Award:       University of Limerick (UL)

University of Limerick Smarter Travel (ULST) was Set up as part of the Limerick Smarter Travel (LST) project. ULST receives support form University of Limerick and LST to design and implement a range of initiatives aimed at encouraging sustainable commuting among the 15,000+ staff and students. In 2016, 4,500 students visited their stand during orientation; on average 70 bikes are serviced weekly; 110 people attended cycle training classes; hi vis material was handed out to staff and students; and 800 bicycle lights were handed out. ULST has had a direct impact on the safety equipment used by thousands of vulnerable road users and ensures a continuous daily presence and awareness of road safety throughout the UL campus.

‘Education (Special)’ Award:             Sophie's Journey Foundation 

Sophie’s Journey is a local foundation in Limerick which provides care for children with terminal illness. Liam Mulcahy set up the foundation after his daughter passed away from kidney failure aged 8. The foundation has an active cycling club whose instructors have undergone training with Cycling Ireland to teach children about road safety and to get them off their stabilisers. Over 45 children go through the programme which is hosted in University of Limerick and Limerick Milk Market. The programme is run by a group of volunteers and has helped children with mild disabilities and terminal illnesses learn about road safety and move from the safe cycling area onto the road. All children aged 4 and up involved in the club have taken off their stabilisers and can now cycle unaided.



‘Education (Community)’ Award:     Pro Social Drivers Programme

The Pro Social Drivers Programme was established in 2012. This driver rehabilitation programme was established to address the high instances of anti-social driving in Co Donegal. The organisers of the programme carried out considerable research and approached a number of reputable international experts when developing the programme. The programme consists of four modules: Emotional Control, Social Responsibility, Driving Under the Influence and Consequences. Referrals to the programme come from the courts service, the probation service, solicitors, concerned parents and individuals who recognise the need for training in this area. To date, 18 programmes have been completed with a total of 180 participants.



‘Judges Award for Technology & Innovation in Road Safety’:          Andrew Irwin

Following a conversation with his mother over the Christmas break in 2014, Andrew created a road safety app that would detect when the user is driving and automatically set your phone to ‘drive mode’ as well as issue an auto response to those trying to contact the driver. The DriveSafe app was released to the Google Play Store in October 15 and has since been used nearly 50,000 times by 8,000 people in 123 countries. Andrew used his own coding experience to create the app. The app is currently available on Android only, but following the early success of the app Andrew has begun designing an iOS version for use on iPhones.



‘Road Safety Officer’ Award:    Declan Keogh, Kildare County Council

Declan Keogh is the Road Safety Officer with Kildare County Council. On four occasions throughout the year, Declan presented to over 300 councillors from each of the 31 local authorities on road safety promotion. Councillors are key audience given their position as community leaders and policy makers. Declan also organised, coordinated and managed the ‘Safer Roads Expo’ in Punchestown, Co Kildare earlier this year. The Expo covered all aspects of road safety including; how to fit child car seats, live demonstrations from a professional racing driver, the Fire Service and An Garda Síochána as well as talks by those whose lives have been directly impacted by road traffic collisions. Declan’s work not only promotes road safety but also and promotes and develops the role of the Local Authority Road Safety Officer across the country.



‘Special Recognition’ Award:             Dr Ashraf Butt

Dr Ashraf Butt is the Lead Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Cavan/Monaghan Hospital.

In 2010, Dr Ashraf Butt and Monaghan Traffic Corps organised a Road Safety Road Show in Monaghan town for Transition Year Students in an effort to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries resulting from road traffic collisions. The event has grown year on year and now includes the Fire and Ambulance Services, Monaghan Motor Club and a local undertaker.

Each year Dr Ashraf Butt shares his experiences at the front line and talks about the serious injuries and fatalities which he has treated as a result of road traffic collisions. 330 transition year students attend the Monaghan Traffic Unit Road Safety Day each year and the feedback from students has shown that Dr Ashraf Butt’s talk makes a lasting impact on those who attend.



‘Special Recognition’ Award:            Inspector Edmund Golden

Inspector Edmund Golden is a former Garda Driving Instructor and his significant expertise helps him educate members of the public on road safety. Inspector Golden is a regular on local radio stations, Tipperary Mid-West and Tipp FM where he has regular road safety slots. This year, he participated in a feature for Tipperary Matters on Irish TV highlighting the dangers of drink driving. He also narrated a segment on RTÉ’s ‘Crimecall’ relating to a high-speed collision that took place in Cashel in 2008. He recently developed a pledge form for Transition Year students who attend the Annual Road Show. Over 2,000 students who attended the event signed a pledge to stay safe on the roads of Tipperary. Inspector Golden also hosted an open day on a farm to highlight changes to Agricultural Vehicle Standards and show farmers the steps they must take to be compliant.



‘Special Recognition’ Award:             Claire Barden, Learn Early Montessori & Crèche

Claire Barden is a four-time Leading Light Award Winner and the 2014 Supreme Award Winner. Claire has, year on year, developed and implemented road safety education programmes for her students at Learn Early Montessori & Crèche. Claire aims to increase awareness of road safety among the children and their parents and family in an effort to protect our most vulnerable, yet unpredictable and curious, road-users and to develop a lifelong understanding of safe road use. In 2016, Claire introduced ‘Mammy, Daddy, Leave the Phone Alone!’, an initiative to educate children about the dangers of mobile phone use and encourage them to speak up if their parents use the phone while driving.



‘Special Recognition’ Award:            James Jones

James Jones is a keyworker with Cheeverstown service provider for people with intellectual disability. James’ goal is to make people with disability as independent as possible. He was nominated by a parent of one of his clients who expressed the lengths James has gone to on behalf of their daughter, Gillian. James has helped Gillian secure a job in a local shop, however in order to get there Gillian would have to walk along a busy, narrow, winding road that was incredibly dangerous.  James contacted the local council and after his efforts, the council agreed to put in place a traffic light system and extend the pedestrian lights for an additional 6 seconds. Because of James’ efforts, Gillian is now able to commute to and from work safely.



‘Special Recognition’ Award:             Southill Outreach

Southill Outreach work with young driving offenders in Limerick City. They developed a programme in an effort to reduce the number of young people involved in car crime and road collisions. The programme consists of 10 -12 sessions in which the young person is asked to reflect on why they were involved in car crime and the potential impacts of their actions. The team uses collateral produced as part of the RSA’s ‘Wrecked’ education initiative as well as other group work tools produced for young adults. Once the programme has been completed and no other offences have been committed in that period, the young person will be supported in their efforts to gain their learner permit and full driver licence. The pilot phase of the programme was recently completed, with two young people availing of the driving lessons. They have not been involved in any anti-social behaviour since completing the programme.



‘Special Recognition’ Award:             Fiona Brennan

Fiona Brennan is a School Warden at Our Lady’s National School, Ballinteer. Fiona educates the school children on the rules of the road, pointing out dos and don’ts so that they can always be safe crossing the road. Fiona knows all the students at her crossing by name and always takes an interest in the children, noticing small things like a medal around their neck and asking what it was for, or how a violin lesson went when returning home carrying a violin case. She always has a small goody bag for each kid for Christmas, Easter and Halloween end of term, ensuring each child is finishing term time with a smile.



‘Special Recognition’ Award:            ‘Live to Play’, Ulster GAA

Launched in 2010, ‘Live to Play’ is Ulster GAA’s Road Safety programme which aims to raise awareness and educate members on how best to stay safe on the roads. The programme is delivered in partnership with the County boards, with a particular focus on educating young people about road safety. One element of the programme is the Primary School Focus; this has evolved from a simple colouring competition to the introduction of an online learning tool and the production of a road safety video. This project asks children to show a greater awareness of road safety issues, by using the Interactive Learning Tool to understand road safety messages and then relay their learning back to their peers by using the arts; drama, music, song, dance, role-playing and so on.



‘Special Recognition’ Award:            Clodagh White

Earlier this year Clodagh and her two children were involved in a serious road collision. Two days before, Clodagh had made contact with the RSA Check it Fits team regarding her child car seats. She was concerned they were not correctly fitted and wanted expert advice to ensure her child car seats were secure and her children safe. Following the incident, Clodagh made contact with the service and told her story. Her child car seat saved her child’s life. Since then, Clodagh has advocated and promoted the need to child car seats and encourages parents to ensure their child car seat is correctly fitted.



 ‘Special Recognition’ Award:           The Michael Reade Show, LMFM Radio

Michael Reade and his team have consistently highlighted road safety on their morning show on LMFM Radio. They made road safety a critical part of the news agenda in the North East at a time when road safety and poor road behaviour was not on the national agenda.



‘Special Recognition’ Award:            Forbes Vigors, TII

Forbes Vigors was a Senior Road Safety Engineer with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII). He passed away suddenly in October of this year. His colleagues at the TII and across every agency he worked alongside commented on Forbes’ unrelenting dedication to road safety and to saving lives on our roads. The award will be presented to his wife, Carmel, in recognition of a departed colleague and road safety advocate.



‘Special Recognition’ Award:    The Shaun Doherty Show, Highland Radio

For years, the award-winning Shaun Doherty Show has been Highland Radio’s flagship programme. Shaun has occupied the mid–morning slot since late 1990, and in that time, Shaun and his team have consistently made road safety a part of their agenda and addressed key issues, from speeding to seatbelts.



‘Special Recognition’ Award:     Christy Kelly

Christy Kelly is a Lead Paramedic with the National Ambulance Service. He was one of the emergency services personnel on the scene of the collision where Ciarán Treacy lost his life in April 2014. He recently featured in the new RSA Crashed Lives advertising campaign.



‘Special Recognition’ Award:     Gary Finlay

Gary Finlay is an Advanced Paramedic with the National Ambulance Service. He was one of the emergency services personnel on the scene of the collision where Ciarán Treacy lost his life in April 2014. He recently featured in the new RSA Crashed Lives advertising campaign.



‘Special Recognition’ Award:     Patrice O'Connell

Patrice O’Connell is an ICU nurse.  Patrice fought to save Ciarán Treacy’s life after his family’s car was hit by a drunk driver. Patrice travelled with Gillian Treacy, who was still undergoing medical treatment, to Ciarán’s funeral. She recently featured in the new RSA Crashed Lives advertising campaign.



‘Special Recognition’ Award:     Emmet & Ciarán O'Mahony

Emmet and Ciaran O’Mahony, a father and son, were the first to come upon the scene of the collision where Ciarán Treacy lost his life in April 2014. Emmet and Ciaran recently featured in the new RSA Crashed Lives advertising campaign.



‘Special Recognition’ Award:     Sgt Dave Lynam

Sgt Dave Lynam was one of the emergency services personnel on the scene of the collision where Ciarán Treacy lost his life in April 2014. He recently featured in the new RSA Crashed Lives advertising campaign



‘Special Recognition’ Award:     Laois County Fire & Rescue Service 

The Laois County Fire and Rescue service based in Portarlington were one of the first emergency services on the scene of the collision where Ciarán Treacy lost his life in April 2014. Members of the unit recently featured in the new RSA Crashed Lives advertising campaign.



‘Special Recognition’ Award:     Mary Joyce

Mary Joyce is a nurse who fought to save Ciaran Treacy’s life after his family’s car was hit by a drunk driver. She recently featured in the new RSA Crashed Lives advertising campaign.



‘Approved Driving Instructor – Car’ Award:   James Malone

The ‘Approved Driving Instructor – Car’ Award has been awarded to James Malone. James has been an ADI training instructor since August 2008 and is responsible for a wide range of training delivered to drivers in the Clane and Co. Kildare areas. James has had a long standing interest in road safety and a personal commitment to helping others share the road in a safe and socially responsible way.



‘Approved Driving Instructor – Bus’ Award:   Joseph Lally

 The ‘Approved Driving Instructor – Bus’ Award has been awarded to Joseph Lally. Joseph is a relative newcomer having commenced work as an ADI training instructor in early 2016. Joseph is based in and delivers training in the Galway area.



‘Approved Driving Instructor – Motorcycle’ Award:   Brian McGonagle

The ‘Approved Driving Instructor – Motorcycle’ award has been awarded to Brian McGonagle. Brian trains motorcyclists in the Dublin, Meath and Louth areas. He has been registered as a professional IBT instructor with the RSA since 2010.



‘CPC Training Organisation of the Year’ Award:     Flexibus

The ‘CPC Training Organisation of the Year’ award winner is Flexibus. Situated in Navan, drivers attending CPC training with Flexibus acknowledge the hard work that goes into facilitating quality CPC periodic training to professional drivers by providing very positive feedback through the RSA’s training evaluation scheme. For this reason, Flexibus have been selected as this year’s CPC Training Organisation of the Year. 



‘CPC Trainer of the Year’ Award:      Jerry Meredith

The ‘CP Trainer of the Year’ award winner is Jerry Meredith of ‘ICE Training’. Jerry has been selected as CPC Trainer of the Year following incredibly positive feedback from drivers attending his training sessions. Effective CPC trainers need to engage the drivers, recognise their experience and expertise and to use them as a resource to help ensure key road safety messages are taken on board. Engaging with those experienced drivers can be challenging at times but Jerry who has been an approved trainer since 2014 continuously demonstrates a real flair for doing just that.