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Donegal school launches innovative driver-learning programme

Donegal County Council has announced that Carndonagh Community School has launched a new innovative driving module programme for their Leaving Applied Certificate (LAC) students. This new programme is the first of its kind in Donegal and indeed in Ireland and will be facilitated by the Pro Social Drivers’ Programme. This programme is about educating our young people on driving safely on the roads and was launched by Donegal County Council cathaoirleach Cllr Gerry McMonagle amongst others (pictured).

Cathaoirleach of Inishowen MD at the launch of the Driving Module for LAC Students at Carndonagh Community School are members of Pro Social Drivers Programme, Donegal Road Safety Working Group and staff from Carndonagh Community School and Senator Padraig MacLochlainn. Deputy Principal at Carndonagh Community School Owen McConway said he is delighted to be hosting this Pilot Driver Education Programme with their LCA students and explains that there are three main pillars within the module:

(1) Prosocial Drivers Councillors;
(2) Presentations from Gardai;
(3) Practical preparation and Theory Preparation.

Speaking at the launch, Mr McConway said: “We believe this is an important initiative in educating young people in keeping our roads safe, before they start driving.

“The programme will be evaluated at the end and will inform the Pro Social Drivers Programme and Donegal County Council on the possible roll-out of the initiative to other schools and youth organisations.”

The Pro Social Ireland Drivers Programme is a road safety initiative set up in Letterkenny in 2012 initially with the aim of rehabilitating dangerous drivers using a cognitive behavioural approach.

The students in Carndonagh will attend modules designed to address particular problem areas such as emotional control, social responsibility, driving under the influence and the consequences of anti-social behaviour while driving.

Mick Quinlivan, Pro Social Drivers Programme, said: “We are delighted to be given the opportunity to deliver the programme and we would like to thank the Donegal Road Safety Working Group for all their assistance to date and we look forward to working with Carndonagh Community School as we develop and expand the programme further.”

Garda Inspector Michael Harrison said: “In my opinion this course is saving lives on our roads and I am delighted to see it as part of the schools programme in Carndonagh. Reducing the number of deaths and injuries on Donegal’s roads is a responsibility we all share.”

Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said: “For years, the news from Donegal in terms of road safety has been often devastating. It is brilliant to have this dedicated group of professionals from Donegal delivering an innovative programme to the students in Carndonagh which will change their driving habits and without doubt, will save lives”.

The Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Gerry McMonagle, outlined Donegal County Council’s and the DRSWG’s commitment to working with local communities in Donegal in promoting road safety.

He said: “The Pro-Social Drivers Programme targets high risk groups of drivers who are initially identified through the justice and legal system but we now have an opportunity to deliver this programme to young people before they start their driving career.”

Brian O’Donnell, Road Safety Officer, Donegal County Council said: “The Donegal Road Safety Working Group are delighted that the Pro Social Drivers Programme have been given the opportunity to deliver this unique programme to students in Carndonagh Community School.

“As a wider group we are all committed to making a combined ongoing effort to make our roads safer for all who use them.”

This initiative is being piloted in conjunction with Donegal County Council and Pro Social Drivers Programme and is funded by the North Inishowen School Completion Programme.