A TEENAGER seriously injured in the George Square bin lorry crash has spoken of her ordeal and her anguish as she faces the prospect of revisiting the scene of the tragedy.


Irene McAuley, 18, ended up in intensive care with a broken ankle which needed surgery after she was hit when the vehicle mounted the pavement in the centre of Glasgow on December 22. Her upper palate had been pushed back by the force of the impact and her upper front teeth were shattered.

She plays for Cumbernauld-based basketball team Lady Rocks and had made plans to take two younger girls from the squad - Alix Stewart, 14, and Danielle Dawson, 13 - on a day trip ice skating to George Square when the accident happened.

She said: "I don't remember seeing the lorry or being hit. The first thing I remember I was lying on the ground with my legs twisted.

"I heard someone screaming and tried to get up to go to find Danielle and Alix but my legs were totally numb. I thought I was paralysed.

"Then there were people all around me. A woman was talking to me and stroking my arm and I was comforted by that."

One woman stayed with her until paramedics came and rode with her in the ambulance to Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

Her mother Florence was at work when the call came through from a friend that her daughter had been in an accident. The friend drove her straight to hospital but it took a further three hours before she was able to see her daughter.

Miss McAuley spent the first night in intensive care while her mother returned home to tell her other children - Keiran, 20; 16-year-old twins Shannon and Daniel; and Anton, 15 - the news.

Her mother said: "We just feel very, very lucky that things weren't worse but then, that's a horrible feeling too because you know that there are six other families who are grieving.

"It makes you feel guilty to feel so lucky and so grateful. The guilt is not easy."

Her mother said she had since walked along Queen Street but Ms McAuley, a maths and statistics student at Strathclyde University, added: "I know I'll have to walk along there eventually as my university is in the city centre but I just can't face it just now.

"My friends are helping me through, though, and I'm concentrating on getting better. It will be another six months before I can play basketball but, physically, I'm improving every day."

Her mother added: "Obviously having someone there with Irene was a comfort and so I would say thank you to that woman.

"I'd also thank the man who took his jacket off to put over her. Small acts like that mean a huge deal."