Motorists have been warned to take extra care after a teenage couple were among five people killed in road crashes in recent days.
Kevin Conway, 18, and his 16-year-old girlfriend Lisa O'Donnell died when their car collided with a tanker in Co Tyrone. Investigators have appealed for witnesses to the accident on the Termon Road near Pomeroy, at 12.15pm on Saturday.
Roads Safety Minister, Alex Attwood, expressed his condolences to their families. "All will be thinking of the immediate and extended families in each of the crashes over the last few days that has resulted in five deaths and such terrible loss and pain," he said.
"This has been one of the worst periods for crashes and deaths on the road for some considerable time. I again ask that all road users are as careful as possible in the rundown to Christmas and the New Year."
Andrew Higgins, 18, died after being hit by a car on the Monaghan Road, Armagh, on Friday. Father and daughter, Colin Doherty and 15-year-old Hannah, were killed in an accident with a cattle lorry between Magherafelt and Moneymore on Thursday.
Sinn Fein councillor Cathal Mallaghan, who knows the Conway and O'Donnell families, said up until Saturday afternoon the young couple were looking towards the future.
"But this terrible accident has brought their lives to a tragic end," he said. "It is a sharp reminder of the fragility of human life and my thoughts are with their grieving family at this difficult time."
Kevin's parents, Francis and Pauline Conway, live in Carrickmore while Lisa's parents, Sean and Brigid, are from Loughmacrory.
David McAleer, Sinn Fein MLA, said the tragedy left the community in shock.
"The young victims were immensely popular and had a huge circle of friends," he said. "There is going to be very difficult days, weeks and months ahead for the families as they try to come to terms with this immense loss."