Wednesday 7 December 2016

First-time mother killed in motorway crash after stopping to take hospital call about newborn

Young woman killed in motorway crash had just become a first-time mum the day before

Published 06/09/2016 | 11:35

'We are all devastated' - Nicola Kenny was killed in motorway crash just one day after becoming the new proud mum of Baby Lily Rose
'We are all devastated' - Nicola Kenny was killed in motorway crash just one day after becoming the new proud mum of Baby Lily Rose
She had a smile for everyone: Nicola Kenny had just become a new mum
The scene of the road collision on the M8, near Cashel, Co Tipperary, yesterday, in which one woman was killed and two were seriously injured. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

The young woman tragically killed by a truck on the M8 motorway yesterday had only become a mother for the first time on Sunday.

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Nicola Kenny (26), from Thurles in Co Tipperary, was travelling to Dublin after her day-old daughter was transferred to Temple Street hospital because of concerns for her health.

But while making the journey Nicola, who was traveling with her mother Ann, and aunt Irene Whelan, who was driving, received a phone call from the hospital.

They pulled into the hard shoulder of the M8 motorway to take the call, which was the good news that little baby Lily-Rose was recovering well and was about to be transferred back to Clonmel hospital where she was born.

It was just after the phone conversation ended when a truck smashed into the back of the car, killing Nicola, who was in the back seat and injuring her mother and aunt.

In Thurles today, the shocked community in and around Kennedy Park, which lies in the shadows of Semple Stadium where the Tipperary minor and senior hurling teams were welcomed home yesterday after their All Ireland victories, were gathering around the Kenny family as news of Nicola’s death spread.

“Nicola had Lily-Rose in the early hours of Sunday morning in Clonmel hospital, and all was well, but then later on Sunday there was a bit of concern that the baby had a bit of a temperature and it was decided to transfer her to Temple Street,” a family spokesman told the Herald today.

“Then yesterday Nicola was being driven up to be with the baby when a call came through from the hospital that everything was fine.

She had a smile for everyone: Nicola Kenny had just become a new mum
She had a smile for everyone: Nicola Kenny had just become a new mum

"Irene pulled the car in to the hard shoulder so Nicola could take the call, and they were delighted to hear Lily-Rose was doing well, and that’s when the crash happened,” he added.

“We are all devastated, Sunday was a big day of celebration with the baby being born and the Tipperary success at Croke Park, and then this happened.

The scene of the road collision on the M8, near Cashel, Co Tipperary, yesterday, in which one woman was killed and two were seriously injured. Photo: Dylan Vaughan
The scene of the road collision on the M8, near Cashel, Co Tipperary, yesterday, in which one woman was killed and two were seriously injured. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

“Nicola was a great girl, she always had a smile on her face, she was well known in the town and knew everybody because she worked in the local Tesco. It’s heartbreaking,” he explained.

The crash happened at 12.25pm in the northbound side of the M8 between junctions 9 and 10 near Dogstown.

Her mother Ann, who was in the front passenger seat, suffered a broken arm and other injuries in the collision but was discharged from hospital to be with her husband and son.

Ms Whelan was driving. She is understood to be in intensive care at University Hospital Limerick but her injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Lily Rose was transferred by ambulance to Temple Street on Sunday evening as doctors were concerned for her health but it is understood her condition stabilised overnight and into Monday morning prompting the phone call to Ms Kenny urging her not to travel to Dublin.

Thurles was thronged with thousands of people on Monday evening celebrating Tipperary All-Ireland hurling success as news of the tragedy spread.

Ms Kenny's family home in Kennedy Park, where she lived with her mother and father, is only a few streets away from where the victorious team homecoming was held in Semple Stadium.

Ms Kenny was well known through her job in the Tesco store in Thurles and had a wide circle of friends. She was also a godmother.

Her funeral will take place on Thursday at the Cathedral of the Assumption in the town followed by burial at St Patrick's Cemetery.

Local priests spent the day liaising with the family.

Fr Martin Hayes said prayers and sympathies were being offered to relatives and friends and appealed for them to be given privacy to grieve.

Linzi Cleary, who had been friends with Ms Kenny all her life, posted a photo of them as toddlers and a message on social media.

"What can I say sister I don't know how I can live without you. I love you so so much babygirl. I hope your wings are as big as your perfect personality. The last 26 years nobody can even come close I love you sis. I love you so much," she said.

Elsewhere, a woman in her 30s was killed following a collision with a truck while cycling in Dublin.

Gardai said the accident happened on Seville Place at about 10.55am.

The truck driver was taken to Beaumont Hospital as a precaution.

The road death toll for the year is 125.

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