TWO people have died in separate road accidents within an hour of each other in the midlands.
A father of two was less than 3km from home when he was killed in a collision with a tractor driven by a neighbour at Thomastown, Co Tipperary.
And a woman died after her car struck a railway bridge near Paulstown, Co Kilkenny.
John Gaughan, who was in his late 60s and from Cahervilla How, Co Tipperary, died following an accident amid poor conditions on the N74 near Thomastown, at around 5pm yesterday.
He was pronounced dead at the scene and his body was removed to South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel.
The driver of the tractor was uninjured.
Mr Gaughan is survived by his wife, Mary, and his two children, John (25), who is a teacher in Scotland, and Sheila (20) who is a student.
Originally from Co Mayo, he came to the Tipperary area many years ago to work on the Caher bypass.
He was described last night as a "lovely gentle fellow" who had been well-liked by anyone who had come in contact with him.
The local community has been plunged into grief following his death. Local councillor Michael Fitzgerald said everyone has been greatly shocked by the tragedy so early into the New Year.
He said conditions last night when the accident took place were "pretty bad", adding it had started to rain and that it was very dark.
The stretch of road was closed last night to facilitate an examination by garda forensic collision investigators, and local diversions are in place.
Just an hour before the Tipperary accident, a woman in her early 60s died when her car collided with a railway bridge in Co Kilkenny at around 4pm.
She was the only occupant of the car at the time.
The woman was taken to St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny, where she was pronounced dead.
The R712 road was closed for a period to allow for an investigation by the garda forensic investigators but was subsequently reopened.
Gardai appealed for witnesses to contact Tipperary garda station on 062 80670 or the station at Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, at 056 7754150, or the Garda Confidential Telephone Line 1800 666 111.