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Tuesday 2 September 2014

The two little girls who lost their lives on Irish roads in less than 48 hours

Published 30/06/2014 | 06:57

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Garda at scene of accident on M4 where four people, including a girl (10), died. Photo: Tony Gavin
Garda at scene of accident on M4 where four people, including a girl (10), died. Photo: Tony Gavin
Jessica Jeeti

These are the two little girls who lost their lives in road crashes over the weekend.

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Jessica Jeeti (10) and eight-year-old Zoe Scannell died in two separate road tragedies in less than 48 hours.

A total of six people lost their lives in fatal collisions during a 48 hour period – among them were Jessica Jeeti’s mother Pat and friends.

The group had attended an al-night vigil at a church and were making their way home when tragedy struck.

Jessica, her mother and two other women were travelling from Dublin back to their home in Co Longford when their car collided with a jeep close to Mullingar, Co Westmeath.

The tragedy occurred on Saturday morning at approximately 7.45am on the N4 Dublin to Sligo road near Portnagashan.

The three women and little girl were pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the jeep was taken to the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar where he was treated for shock.

The mother and daughter had been with family friends Queenent ‘Queen’ Esezbior and Fanny Oraweme Akenbor, two sisters in their 40s, at the time of the crash.

The group had been travelling back from an all-night vigil at a new church in Finglas, North Dublin.

Local priest, Fr Brendan O’Sullivan , of St Mel’s Cathedral in Longford, led prayers for their grief-stricken families and friends last night.

He described their deaths as “devastating for the families and for the community as a whole”.

“All three women were mothers. Everyone is thinking of them and their families have our full support,” he said.

On Thursday, Zoe Scannell lost her life following a fatal collision in Co Cork.

The little girl, who had just made her first Holy Communion, was the "sun, moon and stars" to her family.

The collision occurred at Owenahincha Cross, Rosscarbery, Co Cork, at around 3pm on Thursday.

Zoe (8), who had celebrated her First Holy Communion a little over a month ago, died instantly in the collision.

Her mother, Alisha Scannell – a popular hair stylist from Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick – was removed from the scene by air ambulance to Cork University Hospital.

The 2005-registered grey Nissan Primera, in which Zoe was travelling, ended up in the middle of the road in the incident.

The other car, a silver Audi A3 – which gardai believe was being driven by an unaccompanied 17-year-old male – went off the road, broke through an embankment, and came to a rest about 20 metres below the road surface.

Alisha Scannell's partner, Eddie Murphy, from Abbeyfeale, who sustained minor injuries, is keeping a bedside vigil beside his partner of four years.

Another adult and two children, travelling with the Limerick family, were also hurt in the collision but remain in a stable condition.

Tributes flowed in for Zoe, and her mother, who it also emerged has recently battled against cancer.

Zoe's tearful classmates in Scoil Mhathair De, Abbeyfeale, lit candles, drew pictures of her and held a special Mass in her memory.

Parish priest Canon John O'Shea said the entire community was "traumatised", but had also rallied around the Scannells.

"There was a constant stream of neighbours and friends and cousins coming to the house. Every one of them were heartbroken, to think that such a young life could be snuffed away so quickly from us," Fr O'Shea said.

"(Zoe) led the Corpus Christi procession with her class last Saturday evening. Alice, her grandmother, is heartbroken because she thought the sun, moon and stars shone out through Zoe, and (Zoe) brought her family so much joy and so much love."

He described the vibrant eight-year-old as "a beautiful little girl".

Retiring school principal Marie Gleeson, who was also Zoe's teacher, was visibly upset as she spoke about the girl who captured the hearts of the locality. "You get very close and attached to children during the year, and Zoe was an outstanding little pupil," she said.

"She was a wonderful child in class and she took part in so many events. We've had such a happy year in her second class," Ms Gleeson added.

Counselling services have been offered at the school.

Tributes were also made to her mother, who works in Trendy Locks Salon, Abbeyfeale. She had trained at Bellissimo Hair and Beauty Academy in Limerick city.

According to a family friend, Ms Scannell was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 but never let it beat her.

"She was just such an amazingly strong girl through it all. I remember her rock was her little girl. Then she met her partner Eddie and it was like the best thing that ever happened to her."

A senior staff member at Bellissimo said: "We're all thinking about her."

The sixth victim of this weekend’s road fatalities was pensioner Tom McCaffrey (84) from Scotstown in Co Monaghan.

His car left the road, collided with a ditch and then collided with an oncoming vehicle on Saturday afternoon.

 

 

 

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