A TIGHTLY-KNIT Irish community has been left devastated following a horrific car crash on July 31, in which two teenage girls lost their lives.
The girls, aged 16 and 17, were killed in the smash while being driven to their secondary school’s debs’ ball.
A further three people were injured in the collision, which took place just outside Clones, Co. Monaghan. All five people were travelling in the same vehicle and were en route to the school celebration when the accident occurred.
In a statement issued following the accident, gardaí said that three people had been taken to hospital, two of whom were said to be in critical condition.
It is understood that the three people being treated for injuries include a male and a female, both 18, and the driver, a 60-year-old man.
It has since emerged that one of the two dead teens and the 18-year-old girl who is being treated at hospital are sisters.
Both the female 18-year-old and the driver were described as being in a critical condition, whilst the male 18-year-old is being treated for non-life threatening injuries.
According to sources, only one car was involved in the crash, which took place at around 6.45pm on Monday night some 2km from Clones.
Gardaí have since been trying to establish a cause for the crash, while post-mortem examinations were due to take place today following the removal of the two teenage girls’ bodies to Monaghan General Hospital.
Meanwhile, the community of Clones, including the heartbroken families and friends, of the two teen victims have been struggling to come to terms with the tragedy.
Local Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy said: “Horrendous, heart-wrenching news coming from Clones. A moment of joy and celebration for these young people has turned into a lifetime of devastation for those who loved them.
“God help the families affected. The prayers of everyone in Co. Monaghan are with them.”
Local TD Brendan Smith said the entire community was still in “absolute shock” following news of the tragedy.
Speaking on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show, he said: “We don’t have adequate words to convey our sincere sympathy and deepest condolences to the families of the two girls who have lost their lives.”
He also promised that a range of supports, including educational and psychological therapies, would be made available to anyone in the community who required it.
The crash was the second fatal incident on Irish roads in the same day. At 10.40am in Co. Tipperary, a van driver was killed after a collision with an articulated truck.