GARDAI are investigating whether road tar melted by searing temperatures may have been a factor in a single vehicle accident in which a four year-old girl died.
She was one of four people killed on the roads at the weekend.
The four-year-old died from multiple head and neck injuries sustained when her family's Ford van skidded out of control and collided with a ditch at Grenagh off the main Cork-Limerick road.
The accident occurred at 5pm on Saturday with no other vehicle being involved.
She suffered multiple injuries and was rushed by Health Service Executive ambulance to Cork University Hospital.
Despite desperate efforts by surgeons to stabilise her condition, she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
Her five year-old sister was also injured and taken to Cork University Hospital.
However, her injuries are not life-threatening and her condition is now understood to be stable.
Her parents, who are originally from Doneraile in north Cork but have links to Tipperary and Limerick, were maintaining a vigil by their daughter's bedside.
Gardai closed the road to allow accident investigators to examine the scene.
While the cause of the accident is unknown, one factor being considered is the extreme heat and its impact on the road surface.
Grenagh Parish Priest Fr Aidan Crowley said Cork was reeling from two tragic accidents involving children in the space of 48 hours.
"You get a bit of good weather and then you have the drownings. Now you have this accident. It is absolutely unspeakable," he told the Irish Independent.
Separately, a young man died in a single-vehicle crash near Ardee in Co Louth early yesterday morning.
The single-vehicle crash happened on the Bog Road, Townspark in the early hours of this morning.
Patrick Carolan (20), who had worked in the farming industry, was from Barley Hill in Co Meath.
He was killed instantly after he lost control of his car and collided with a tree.
His body was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.
And at 6.20pm last night a 29-year-old motorcyclist was killed in a road traffic accident in Co Kerry.
Father of one, Mark Shanahan (29) died when his motorbike collided with a car on the Abbeydorney to Tralee Road, about 3km from the town.
He was pronounced dead at the scene and his remains were taken to Kerry General Hospital where a post mortem is to be carried out today.
The female driver of the car, who was the sole occupant, was uninjured in the accident.
Meanwhile in Co Westmeath, a 20-year-old man died after his motorbike hit a ditch during the annual Walderstown Road Races near Athlone.
The accident happened at around 1.20pm and the man, understood to be from the Hillsborough area of Co Down, was airlifted to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin where he was pronounced dead at 5.30pm.