CALLS for high visibility clothing or strips to be distributed to young people in schools were made at Craigavon Borough Council this week.
It follows the tragic death of 15-year-old David Preece who was killed in a road accident at the weekend.
The schoolboy had been walking in single file with two friends along the Donaghcloney Road near Blackskull - just yards from his home at around 11pm on Friday night.
Despite his father’s valiant attempts to resuscitate him, David died later in Craigavon Area Hospital.
DUP councillor Carla Lockhart, after extending sympathies to the Preece family, told Council of the need to wear reflective jackets at night.
She suggested that there be a liaison with the Policing Partnerships to issue reflective clothing or strips to young people via schools.
Mayor Alan Carson said David’s death was ‘truly a tragedy and a great loss to the whole family circle’.
He said he would make sure the matter of reflective jackets was raised as a matter of urgency at the next meeting of the Policing Partnership.
And local Ulster Unionist MLA Jo -Anne Dobson is to hold a meeting with the PSNI regarding road safety in that area.
Mrs Dobson, who visited the grieving Blackskull family on Saturday morning said: “The communities of Donaghcloney and Blackskull are numbed by this incident and were shocked to hear what happened on Friday night.
“Rural roads can be a danger and I would appeal for people to take extra care and vigilance and to look out for pedestrians when travelling at night.
“I have called for an urgent meeting between PSNI Roads Safety Officers and Roads Service Officials to review all possible steps which can be taken to ensure that people are safer on our country roads and also to look into ways of promoting road safety and personal visibility through our local schools.
“I know that I share the views of all of the people of Donaghcloney and Blackskull when I say that I never wish to attend another funeral of a young person who has lost their life in such tragic circumstances.”
At Tuesday’s Craigavon Council meeting DUP Councillor Mark Baxter spoke of the ‘shock and the sadness’ felt by the community in Donaghcloney Blackskull.
“It’s always sad when a life is lost in such horrific circumstances but really strikes a cord when it is someone so young.
“Especially as a parent my heart goes out to the family who will struggle to come to terms with this.
Councillor Baxter said he was ‘surrounded by scores of young people visibly upset, a testament to how much he was thought of by his peers’.
“Our roads are a dangerous place especially unlit country roads. Regretfully young David Preece or Dee Dee to his friends has lost his life, a sad thing is he will become a statistic to most but not to those who knew him, the impact of which will stay with them the rest of their lives,” said Councillor Baxter.
He urged all those walking on country roads to be as visible as possible and to be careful.
“Don’t let yourself become a statistic,” he said.
Sinn Fein Councillor Liam Mackle also conveyed his sympathies. “As the father of a 15-year-old it doesn’t bear thinking about,” he said.
SDLP Councillor Declan McAlinden also conveyed his condolences as did party colleague Councillor Joe Nelson.
DUP Upper Bann MP David Simpson said that David’s death was “a tragedy”.
“I would pass on my condolences to his family.
“It’s an awful tragedy to lose someone so young with their whole life in front of them.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and we hope they are able to get over this very sad time,” he added.
Party colleague and MLA Stephen Moutray said the teenager had been a well-liked pupil at school.
“He made a very positive contribution to the school and will no doubt be greatly missed by its pupils,” the MLA said.
A police spokesperson said: “Police in Lurgan are appealing for information following a serious road traffic collision on the Donaghcloney Road, Donaghcloney last night, Friday, May 4, which resulted in the death of 15-year-old David Preece who is from the Blackskull area.
“David was walking on the road at approximately 11pm when he was struck by a car.
“Police are keen to hear from anyone who was on the Donaghcloney Road at this time or who saw the collision to contact them at Lurgan on 0845 600 8000.”