Shock as tragic victims of fatal Limerick crash named

The stretch of N69 road was closed well into Wednesday after the fatal road crash. Photo: Brendan Gleeson.

TRIBUTES have been paid to two young men killed and two others injured in a horrific road traffic collision in County Limerick this week.

The four men, aged in their late teens and early 20s, who, as part of a agricultural course run jointly by Technical University of the Shannon (TUS) and Salesian Agricultural College, Pallaskenry, were boarding at the Salesian College, had been traveling in a car that struck a wall on the N69 at Ballyengland, near Askeaton, at around 7.25pm on Tuesday night.

Two of the men, Darragh Dullea, (20), from Clonakilty, Co Cork and Cillian Kirwan, (19), from Piltown, Co Kilkenny, who were passengers in the car, were killed instantly in the impact.

The two other men including the driver and third passenger, from Charleville, Co Cork and Birr, Co Offaly, were taken by ambulance from the scene to University Hospital Limerick, where they were being treated or non-life threatening injuries.

The four young men had been in their final year of their two-year course in agricultural mechanisation gaining qualifications in working with farm machinery.

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Speaking to the Limerick Post, Salesians College Principal, Derek O’Donoghue, said: “I would like to send my condolences to the families of the two students that have tragically lost their lives, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families and their friends and classmates, and I also wish the two students who are in hospital a speedy recovery.”

Mr O’Donoghue said the four men returned to live at the Pallaskenry college in January “after eight months placement, so they are really just five weeks back here in college and are in the final year of their programme – and all four are from rural Ireland”.

“It’s very unfortunate, they are all in their 20s and all second year students, they were studying the higher cert in agricultural mechanisation which involves studies around the mechanics, operation and maintenance of farm machinery, such as tractors.”

Paying tribute, he described the four men as “exemplary students, hard working, diligent, and all had really good careers ahead of them, two still have obviously, but unfortunately two lives have been cut very very short”.

Mr O’Donoghue said staff from TUS were providing counselling and other psychological supports to the men’s fellow students.

“The TUS student support service and counselling are currently here in the college, so there are four TUS staff here and they are providing supports to the four men’s classmates and other students, and they will be here throughout the day and that will be ongoing.”

“The four occupants of the car were all on the same course together and they were all residential students here in Pallaskenry – It’s a much tighter knit community of students than the day students, because not alone are they in college together during the day, but they are together by night.”

There are approximately 200 students including 65 boarders from all over the country attending the college in Pallaskenry.

Adam Teskey, a local Fine Gael councillor, offered his sympathies to the four men’s families and said the local community was left “absolutely stunned” and  “in a total state of shock after this immense tragedy”.

“Two families have suffered the ultimate loss of life and for that I want to express my sincere sympathies to them.”

The local councillor describe the N69 as “a dangerous road that is no stranger to fatal road collisions”.

Cllr Teskey offered his “heartfelt thanks to our first responders, such as An Garda Siochana, the ambulance service, and particularly the Limerick City and County Fire and Rescue Service, who responded to what was a difficult situation for all at the scene”.

Gardai said the bodies of the deceased were removed from the scene to the mortuary at University Hospital Limerick, for post-mortem examinations.

The road was closed throughout Tuesday night and into Wednesday allowing Gardai attached to the forensic collision investigation unit conduct technical examinations at the scene.

Gardaí appealed for witnesses and any road users with “camera footage (including dash-cam) and who were travelling in the area at the time, to make this footage available to Gardaí”.

“Anyone with any information is asked to contact Askeaton Garda Station 061 601630 or any Garda station.”