Mother and unborn child the latest victims of horror smash
THE death toll from a horrific multiple-car crash continued to climb yesterday as a woman and her unborn child died in hospital.
Pregnant Roisin Connolly (39) was the third person to lose their life after two close friends also died at the scene of the collision in Co Monaghan.
Her unborn child also died a short time later despite the best efforts of the medical team at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth.
The horror smash happened on the N2 near Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, at 6.30pm on Monday evening. Ms Connolly was travelling as a front-seat passenger in a Seat Toledo driven by her husband, who was last night described as being in a stable condition in hospital.
The Toledo was involved in a head-on collision with a BMW carrying four men, two of whom died at the scene.
They were yesterday named as close friends Paul Carroll (27), from Dunheeda, Kingscourt, and Glen Curtis (28), from Nobber, Co Meath.
The driver Kevin McArdle (28), who runs a pub in Kingscourt, Co Cavan, was in hospital last night with the other passenger, a 31-year-old man, who was described as being in a critical condition.
A saloon Opel Vectra family car, carrying a father, mother and their two children was also involved in the collision.
The couple's two-year-old son and a 13-month-old girl were strapped into childseats, and escaped uninjured.
Aerial footage of the sealed-off area along the N2, around 2km from Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, was taken yesterday to help garda forensic teams piece together the cause of the tragic smash.
Garda Supt Noel Cunningham said the "horrendous" incident had created a ripple effect through local communities.
Ms Connolly, from Grace Park Road, Drumcondra in Dublin, became the third victim of the smash when she died in the early hours of yesterday morning, just hours after the crash on Monday night.
It is understood Ms Connolly lived in the UK before returning to Ireland and still had immediate family in Donegal.
Mr Curtis had been helping the family with farm work since his uncle Paudge Curtis died five weeks' ago.
"He was just like anyone else, he was friendly and outgoing," a friend said. He is mourned by his father Sean and mother Marian, and a number of siblings.
Mr Curtis was a front-seat passenger in the BMW, while Mr Carroll was in the rear seat.
Mr Curtis and Mr Carroll -- whose parents were described as "heartbroken" -- were very close friends who both worked as agricultural contractors.
David Blake, a publican in Kingscourt, said: "They were two nice young men. More often than not you would see them together."
Visibility may have been affected by heavy rain, but there was no ice or slush at the scene.
Supt Cunningham said yesterday that investigations were at an early stage and that the road remained sealed off.
Onlookers at the scene helped piece together the direction the vehicles may have been travelling in. It appeared the BMW car was travelling from the Dublin direction on the straight stretch of road along the Carrickmacross bypass.
Both the Opel Vectra and Seat Toledo were travelling in the direction of Dublin.
The BMW and the Opel Vectra may have glanced off each other before the BMW continued a short distance down the road where it was in collision with the Seat Toledo, carrying the pregnant woman.
"There was no indication of any ice, slush, snow, nothing on the road but there was heavy rain at the time," Supt Cunningham said. "We send out our condolences to the families who are affected by this horrendous incident which has created a ripple effect right through the community."
There have been 212 lives lost on the roads so far this year -- including a pedestrian killed near Ashford, Co Wicklow, on Christmas Day.