GARDAI tried in vain to intercept an elderly man who was driving on the wrong side of a motorway before he was killed in a collision with a delivery truck.
The two-vehicle crash occurred on the M8 motorway between Mitchelstown, Co Cork, and Cahir, Co Tipperary, early yesterday.
Martin Heffernan (82), from Ballinahow outside Tipperary town, was killed instantly after his 2011-registered car collided with a transport truck.
The Irish Independent understands that Mr Heffernan drove north on the wrong carriageway of the motorway from Mitchelstown until the collision occurred.
Several anxious motorists had contacted gardai about a motorist who was driving north on the wrong side of the motorway.
Responding gardai were attempting to intercept Mr Heffernan's vehicle before the collision occurred at Raheenrow, Co Tipperary at 2am.
The truck driver, who had been travelling towards east Cork, was uninjured.
The southbound carriage of the M8 motorway remained sealed off at the scene yesterday.
Family and friends of Mr Heffernan said it was a very sad day and hailed him as "one of the nicest men you could meet".
Mr Heffernan's niece Kay Kelly said Martin had a "magnetic personality" and described him as a "larger-than-life figure who loved people and was always very sociable".
Mr Heffernan was a staunch Tipperary GAA supporter and canvassed for Fine Gael at local and general elections.
South Tipperary County Cllr and close friend John Crosse told the Irish Independent Mr Heffernan was "an incredibly intelligent man" and hailed his understanding of local politics in helping him to get elected to the local council.
"Martin was a great friend of mine and helped me out a lot. His value to the Fine Gael cause cannot be measured," he said.
Mr Heffernan will be reposing at Whelan's Funeral Home from 6pm to 7.30pm. Funeral Mass will take place in St Michael's Church, Tipperary at 12.30pm tomorrow.
He is survived by his brother Timmy, sister Kathleen, five nieces and three nephews.