A5 crash victim named locally as Caolan Devlin as campaigners press for road upgrade

The victim of a crash on the A5 has been named locally as Caolan Devlin.

Tributes have been paid to the 30-year-old man who died after the car he was driving collided with a lorry.

Caolan used to play for Coalisland GAA Club – in a statement it said it needed “to stand by Caolan's parents, brother, friends, and entire family circle through the difficult days, weeks, and months ahead.”

Caolan’s brother Niall is a former Tyrone Under 20 captain.

“This is the second brother of a Tyrone Under 20 captain to have lost their life in two years so there’s a massive feeling of loss in the GAA community in Tyrone and also feelings of anger,” said Niall McKenna, Chair of the A5 Enough is Enough campaign – it’s calling for the road to be upgraded to a safer dual carriageway.

A plan to upgrade the road was first recommended in 2007 – around 50 people have died since then with plans beset by legal challenges.

On Tuesday, the Infrastructure Minister warned there could be further legal challenges but he appealed to anyone considering a fresh challenge to think again and prioritise the need to save lives.

“There are people dying on this road and the road needs to be upgraded. There is no argument about that. So, I would ask them to set aside the legal challenges,” John O’Dowd told MLAs.

“There would be anger to anyone thinking of going down that road,” said Niall McKenna in response to John O’Dowd’s comments.

“We have always said to the objectors to reflect on their actions but increasingly we would be extremely angry at the moment if anyone thought of objecting furthermore after so many needless deaths,” he said.

The First Minister has also paid tribute to Caolan Devlin and his family.

“Firstly, I want to extend my heartfelt condolences to Caolan’s parents Margaret and Gerard, his brother Niall, and the entire Devlin and Cullen families as they come to terms with this unimaginable loss today.

“An entire community is heartbroken today. We will all gather around to support Caolan’s family and friends at this very sad and difficult time.

“This is a sad reminder of why we need to urgently upgrade this dangerous road to save lives now,” Michelle O’Neill said.

“I am appealing directly to those who are opposed to this road to withdraw their objections. There can be no more delay in building the A5,” she added.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.