Family devastated as son dies, brother hurt in Australian crash
Published 28/09/2010 | 05:00
A YOUNG man was killed and his brother injured in a horrific road crash in Australia.
The family of construction worker James Gallagher (22) is preparing to travel to Australia to bring his remains home after the single-vehicle collision outside Sydney on Saturday night.
The victim's older brother Daniel, who was also in the car, suffered a broken arm.
The brothers hail from Kinlough in north Leitrim, but James had been working as a machine driver in Sydney for the past two years.
He dreamed of returning home to restore an old cottage on the family farm.
The county has been plunged into mourning after receiving news of his death, as well as the death of a young hairdresser in a crash on Sunday night.
Therese Shanley (25) was killed instantly when the car she was driving crashed into a wall less than two kilometres from her home in Dromod, south Leitrim.
Shocked relatives and friends were trying to come to terms with news of both deaths yesterday.
James Gallagher's grieving uncle, Arthur Bredin, said: "He liked Australia but he loved home."
The young man was on his way home from work shortly after midnight when the Toyota Camry he was driving left the road, hitting a safety barrier, a power pole and then a tree.
His brother Daniel is due to undergo surgery today. A third young man, also from north Leitrim, was in the car but suffered only minor injuries in the crash.
Mr Bredin, who will tomorrow travel to Australia with James's parents, James and Bernadette, said the family was "absolutely devastated".
"James was a wonderful young fellow. He was extremely hardworking and generous. His first love was family and home and farming.
"He was full of ambition and full of future plans to return home and restore an old derelict cottage on the family farm and buy his own farm," he said.
As a mark of respect for the victim, the youngest of four brothers, construction workers will work a half day on Friday and attend a special Mass in Sydney on Friday morning.
Meanwhile, garda investigators were at the scene of Sunday night's crash on the Johnstown Bridge to Dromod Road, which claimed the life of Therese Shanley. The collision happened at around 10pm when the silver Volkswagen Polo being driven by the victim crashed into a wall.
Gardai have appealed for anyone who may have seen the car before the crash to come forward. A post-mortem examination was carried out on the body of the victim at Sligo General Hospital yesterday. The young woman, who worked as a hairdresser in a salon in Longford town, is survived by her parents, Jim and Rose, and sisters, Verona, Orla and Siobhan.
Local councillor and neighbour Sean McGowan said the entire community was in shock.
"Therese was a pleasant girl from a very decent, well-respected family. It is a huge tragedy for them and our thoughts are with them," he said.