Northern Ireland

Cloughmills: Boy, 8, dead after car strikes family of seven

The family were walking to school when the collision occurred Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption The family were walking to school along a country road when the collision occurred

A boy has died after a car struck his mother and her six children as they walked to school in County Antrim.

It happened on the Loughill Road in the village of Cloughmills, near Ballymena, at about 08:35 GMT on Tuesday.

Adam Gilmour, eight, died later in hospital. His mother is in a stable condition in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

Four of the children were also taken to hospital. An 18-year-old man has been arrested.

Three of the children were treated at Antrim Area Hospital - two have since been discharged. One remains in a stable condition in the hospital. The fourth child is in a stable condition in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

A sixth child did not require hospital admission.

North Antrim MLA Jim Allister said the woman had contacted him three weeks ago, as she was concerned about her children having to walk along that road.

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Media captionJim Allister says the mother involved in the crash had contacted him about the dangers walking along the Loughill Road in Cloughmills

He said she warned that "because the education and library board was failing to provide transport for her children, they would be 'wiped out' some morning on the road.

"The lady was particularly concerned that this situation was continuing into the winter months.

"I am most distressed that her words have proved to be much more prophetic than anyone would have thought.

"I wrote to the transport department of the North Eastern Education and Library Board highlighting the fact that she had to bring five children to meet the school bus in Cloughmills because the NEELB refused to collect the children close to their own home."

In a statement, the NEELB confirmed that it had received correspondence from Mr Allister and the board had "been reviewing transport provision in the Cloughmills area".

"The board had agreed to meet with Mr Allister to discuss the concerns raised in his statement," it said.

But Mr Allister said he had only heard about that meeting on Tuesday after the accident.

The statement went on to say that: "As a result of the road traffic collision the board is focussed on working closely with the schools and the family. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time."

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Media captionChief Inspector Stephen McCauley said the accident highlights the need for motorists to be careful on the roads

The little boy's death brings the number of fatalities on Northern Ireland roads this year to 69.

Ch Insp Stephen McCauley said: "Adam, his mother and five siblings were making their way to school this morning when the collision happened.

"The fact that a child has died on the way to school this morning heaps tragedy upon an already stark figure."

Education Minister John O'Dowd expressed his sadness and sympathy at the death of Adam Gilmour.

"The boy was a pupil at Clough Primary School and the North Eastern Education and Library Board is working closely with the school to provide support," he said.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the school and local community and everyone affected by this event."

Image caption The people in Cloughmills are said to be in shock at the crash

Four ambulances attended the crash.

Cloughmills is a village about 16km away from the town of Ballymena.

It had a population of 1,240 people in the 2001 census.

There are two primary schools in the village.