Friday 20 October 2017

Mother of young woman killed one day after becoming a mum speaks for first time

Mum for a day crash victim's baby a 'blessing'

Nicola Kenny was killed in motorway crash just one day after giving birth
Nicola Kenny was killed in motorway crash just one day after giving birth
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

The mother of a young woman who was a mum for just one day before being killed in a car crash, said her baby granddaughter is keeping her going.

Nicola Kenny (26) was killed on September 6 last after a truck crashed into the car she was travelling in when it stopped on the hard shoulder of the M8 motorway in south Tipperary.

Nicola, from Thurles, was travelling with her mother, Ann and aunt Irene. They had pulled in to take a call from a hospital concerning the health of her baby daughter, Lily-Rose.

Speaking for the first time since the accident, Ann told the Herald: “We’re still grieving but Lily occupies our days and that is a blessing.”

Nicola's mother Ann, who attended the funeral in a wheelchair
Nicola's mother Ann, who attended the funeral in a wheelchair

Nicola was sitting in the back of the car and relayed the news to her mother and aunt that her day-old daughter was in good health in Temple Street hospital and could be transferred back to Clonmel.

Read More: 'Nicola is gone... but her baby Lily Rose will not want for love'

At that moment a truck smashed into the back of their car. Nicola was killed and

both Ann and Irene were badly injured.

Lily-Rose is now six weeks old and from the family home near Semple Stadium, Ann (52) has told how she is the light of their lives.

“She was in Clonmel hospital until two weeks ago, more so that I could recover from my injuries than anything else, but now we have her home and I’m able to feed her,” Ann said.

Nicola’s father Patrick Kenny and friends and relatives follow her coffin from the Cathedral of the Assumption in Thurles. Photo: Colin O’Riordan
Nicola’s father Patrick Kenny and friends and relatives follow her coffin from the Cathedral of the Assumption in Thurles. Photo: Colin O’Riordan

The grandmother suffered a broken collarbone and facial injuries in the crash and will start physiotherapy next week.

“My arm is numb and I have to rest it on the edge of the couch to feed Lily but she’s growing stronger and doing well and that’s what matters,” she added.

In her arms, Lily sucked happily on a warm bottle, her eyes opening and closing as she half-dozed in the warmth and comfort of the crook of Ann’s arm.

“She’s like a daughter rather than a granddaughter in many ways and she’s very like Nicola,” said Ann.

Nicola Kenny was killed in motorway crash just one day after giving birth
Nicola Kenny was killed in motorway crash just one day after giving birth

Life has been difficult for the Kenny family since the crash and both Ann and her husband Patrick have had to give up their jobs to take care of Lily.

Read More: 'You must be Nicola's arms to hold Lily-Rose - and her mouth to praise and lift her up'

“But everyone has been great. Tesco, where Nicola worked, have been fantastic and there is a neighbour who works in Boots, they have been brilliant too,” said Ann.

“We have great help from Pat’s sisters, neighbours and Nicola’s friends. There is no shortage of offers of babysitters and help if we need to get some sleep.”

While not able to talk yet about the crash that claimed Nicola’s life, Ann said she and her family received a tremendous and overwhelming response from people all over the country after it happened.

“People we don’t know and never met have been sending us cards and letters.

“Pat goes through them but I haven’t had the strength to read them yet. They are all in a box and I will go through them one day,” she said.

“We also have a box of memories of Nicola to give to Lily when she is older. Nicola was so looking forward to being a mammy, she loved children,” Ann added.

Still cradling Lily after she fell asleep in her arms, Ann said Christmas will be a very difficult time.

“I won’t do Christmas. It’s just too soon and we are still grieving but I will do presents and things for the grandkids because it is a time for them.

“Nicola loved Christmas too and she would have been excited about it this year with Lily. I’d say she’ll be spoiled by Santa this year,” said Ann, stroking Lily’s cheek softly with her finger.

After the crash, local Tesco store manager Robert Foley said the news of Nicola’s death had been met with disbelief.

“Nicola was a beautiful, bubbly, friendly young lady. She had been working here since 2008 so everybody knew her and she knew all the customers. We were like a second family to her I suppose.

“The one thing I remember is just how friendly she was, with a constant smile.

“She was always in here in Tesco, even on her days off she would be in chatting with her friends and helping customers out.”

The truck driver was arrested and questioned in relation to the incident, before being released without charge.

A file was being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Irish Independent

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