A bus carrying over fifty UCD students crashed last week, sparking the launching of an investigation into the causes. The bus was carrying the students on the evening of Thursday 4th February when it skidded into a ditch on the R522 between Killeenleagh and Mitchelstown, Co. Cork. The students were returning from the funeral of Damian Buckley, a UCD Agricultural Science student who had died in tragic circumstances.
Two buses had been organised by the Students’ Union and the office of the Agriculture Programme Director to allow students to travel to the student’s funeral in Dromore, Co Cork.
Students abroad the bus reported that the accident occurred when the bus failed to slow down for an approaching tractor. Upon realising the road was too narrow, the driver skidded to the side and the bus left the road, falling into a ditch.
SU President Gary Redmond confirmed that an investigation into the incident is being carried out by both the university and the bus company involved. Redmond would not speculate on the cause of the crash, but did suggest adverse weather conditions may have played a role in the incident, calling the conditions “absolutely horrendous.” Redmond stated that the bus company in question has been the SU’s regular bus provider for a number of years, and also has a longstanding record of working with the university.
A passenger on the bus in question told The University Observer that students had expressed concern on the return journey about what they felt was the excessive speed at which the coach was being driven. The passenger also described how the bus driver had left the motorway and appeared to be lost. He also appeared to be “twiddling with the GPS” but was continued driving at high speed on a rural road.
After the crash, students and staff members on the bus were taken in by a local woman who provided the passengers some refreshments. Gardaí were then alerted to the incident.
No students were injured in the accident, and Redmond has stated that the matter is now in the hands of the UCD transport safety officer and the Gardaí. The driver of the bus was subsequently interviewed by Gardaí at the scene. After a delay of several hours, another bus arrived to bring the students back to Dublin.