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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 February 2008, 14:05 GMT
Family make call for road safety
It is the latest in a long line of serious accidents on the road
The accident happened on a road notorious for accidents
The family of a 16-year-old girl killed in a bus crash have called for immediate action to improve safety on the road where it happened.

Nicola Murray died in the crash between the bus and a lorry on the Ballygawley Road, Cabragh, on Wednesday.

Nicola's father, Jim, said they felt for the lorry driver.

"He didn't get up that morning to cause death, Paula (Nicola's mother) and I feel for him in what he must be going through," he said.

"I'm sure he's a man like myself out at his work earning a few pound and maybe has a family of his own - I don't know - something happened, something went wrong and we'd like to know what it was."

Local people believe there will be more deaths unless action is taken.

Roads Minister Conor Murphy is to talk to police about putting fixed speed cameras on the road.

Mr Murphy said while fixed cameras could be installed in the future, the police should continue to carry out mobile checks.

"I want us to get together with the PSNI and DOE who have responsibility for road safety and get whatever measures are needed in the interim," he said.

"It is a dangerous stretch of the road, it does suffer from driver behaviour, from speed.

"A police presence can be put on that road in the immediate term and certainly, if fixed cameras are part of the solution, we can put them on as quickly as we can."

Chief Inspector Ken Pennington said the PSNI had mounted 35 operations in that area since the start of the year.

He said installing fixed speed cameras was just one option.

"We also consistently deploy our speed camera van, which is exactly the same technology, into that area and we also deploy laser hand held speed detection devices," he added.

The crash happened as the bus turned into St Mary's Primary School in Cabragh.

Nicola's nine-year-old cousin, Gráinne Mallon, remains critically ill following the accident.

Nicola Murray
Nicola Murray, 16, was killed in Wednesday's accident

The girls' uncle, Martin Mallon, said the families were close and comforting each other.

"The family has come through a lot of stuff over the years - they all stick together and they are strong," he said.

"The people round that area, Protestant, Catholic it doesn't matter what they are, they are all extremely good neighbours and all work very well together and stand together."

Education Minister Caitríona Ruane is to brief other ministers on the tragedy when the Northern Ireland Executive meets later.

Father Pat Hannigan spent several hours with Grainne's family at the Royal Victoria Hospital and said they were trying to remain strong.

"They were hopeful, they were optimistic but quietly so," he said.

"Obviously they are in a state of shock and there is that cloud, or shadow, that's hanging over them. But they are hopeful, and they are very much together."

The driver of the lorry, who was arrested after the accident, has since been released by police.

There have been calls for action to address the number of fatal accidents on the Ballygawley line.

A multi-million pound roads improvement scheme which will turn the road into a dual carriageway got under way earlier this month.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Nicola's father and twin sister



SEE ALSO
Girl critical after bus collision
28 Feb 08 |  Northern Ireland
Teenage girl killed in bus crash
27 Feb 08 |  Northern Ireland



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