TWO people died early today in a traffic accident near Ballina, Co. Mayo.
The deceased, both male, were traveling alone in separate cars at the time of the impact which occurred at Mountfalcon between Foxford and Ballina around 5 am.
Gardai said the victims, aged 43 and 47 years, were pronounced dead at scene.
According to gardai, the crash vehicles were traveling in opposite directions at the time of the impact.
The bodies of both men have been removed to Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar where post mortem exminations will be conducted later today.
The main N26 road between Ballina and Swinford will be closed for most of the day as forensic crash investigators examine the vehicles and scene.
Car crash deaths increased for the first time in eight years last year.
Provisional figures show 190 people lost their lives on the roads in 2013 - up 17% from 162 in 2012.
It is the first year since 2005 that road deaths have risen.
Motorists have been warned to take extra care as heavy rain spreads across the country, with some showers turning to sleet.
Met Eireann said strong onshore winds gusting to gale force will also affect Munster, Leinster and east Ulster coastal areas for a time today with a risk of local spot flooding.
Gardai in Dundalk are advising that driving conditions are treacherous due to black ice in many areas.