THREE young men have died in a weekend of carnage on the roads.
The deaths bring to 30 the number of people who have died on the roads this year – double the number who had lost their lives this time last year.
Neighbouring rural parishes spent the weekend trying to come to terms with the tragic deaths of two young friends who both died in a single-car accident.
Alan Kelly (18) and Raymond Mulhall (20) were killed when the car they were travelling in struck a concrete pillar near Ferbane, Co Offaly, at 7.30pm on Friday.
Mr Kelly, a leaving certificate student from Shannonbridge, was the youngest in a family of four children. His parents, Jacinta and Tom, brothers Declan and Eamon, and sister Michelle have been left devastated.
Fr Francis O'Hanlon, Shannonbridge parish priest, said the tragedy cast a dark shadow over the community. He said friends and neighbours were doing everything they could.
"They are all rallying around the Kelly family, they all feel the pain of it," he said.
Mr Mulhall lived in Oughter, near Rahan, with his parents Raymond Snr and Eunice Fox. He had a number of siblings from his father's previous marriage.
Councillor Johnny Butterfield said the entire community in Rahan was in shock.
"I am very sorry that they were hit with this tragedy – it has affected the whole community because they are very well liked," he added.
Funeral arrangements have yet to be finalised, but Mr Kelly and Mr Mulhall are expected to be buried in Shannonbridge and Ferbane on Wednesday.
Gardai have appealed for anyone with information regarding Friday's accident to contact Birr garda station on 057-9169710 or the confidential line 1800 666 111.
In a separate incident, another young man, Padraic Stapleton (22), died following a two- car collision outside Thurles, Co Tipperary.
The incident took place on Friday at 10.40pm on the N75 at Rathmanna.
The driver of the second car was treated in hospital for minor injuries but was later discharged.
Anyone with information has been asked to contact Thurles garda station on 0504 25100, or the confidential line.