An Irish dad and his wife who lost three children in a horror holiday crash have bravely spoken of “our joy and our life”.
The tragic accident occurred on Tuesday while Brian O’Shea – a brother-in-law of TV chef Kevin Dundon – was on holiday with his wife Maria and four children in Denmark.
Little Soren (11), Saoirse (9) and Connor (3) died during the crash in the Danish region of northern Jutland on Wednesday.
Mum Catherine who was driving the car and their four and a half month old son Torben escaped with minor injuries.
Mr O’Shea was not in the car at the time of the accident.
The family have issued a heartbreaking statement describing the personalities of the late children.
It read: “On Tuesday 16th July 2013 we lost three of our children Soren, Saoirse and Connor O’Shea.
"We could not be more proud and honoured to have had the time that we have had with them and we are devastated with this loss.
"Soren our handsome ever thoughtful and caring boy that forever wished to please, Saoirse our beautiful, creative and charming girl and Connor our wonderful precocious rascal.
"These were individuals that were our joy and our life.
"They will forever be missed by us and all of those that they have touched in their short lives.
"We appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers which have come from all around the world.
"Your respect for our privacy would be much appreciated as we try to come to terms with this chaotic event.”
The statement was signed by Maria, Brian and Torben O’Shea.
The family who are based in Australia are well known members of the Pemberton community where they have lived for a decade.
Mr O’Shea runs a wood-fuel enterprise in the town of Manjimup, while Mrs O’Shea who is a doctor, was on maternity leave.
The O’Shea family’s neighbours said they were a close-knit family who often took walks together and were immersed in community life.
Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar spoke of his sadness on hearing of the tragic loss of the young children, and expressed his condolences to both Kevin and Catherine.
“Kevin is a valued member of the board of Failte Ireland and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family at this time,” the minister said.
A spokeswoman at Dunbrody House, the Dundon family’s boutique hotel and cookery school, said the chef and his wife would not be making any comment at this time.
Kevin’s counterpart chef Neven Maguire said “My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. I have known Kevin a long time. He is a great guy and does a lot to promote food in Ireland and it must be a great shock to his wife Catherine.
Danish police told how the crash occurred when the vehicle in which the family was travelling was in collision with another car travelling in the opposite direction. It is understsood Ms O’Shea was turning at the time. Police described her as “very shocked” but conscious at the scene. “It was a really bad accident. It was so awful up there for the witnesses,” a police spokesman said.