FRANK KHAN and CONOR FEEHAN THE grim toll on the roads continued yesterday with a horrific crash outside Dundalk, Co Louth in which two men lost their lives.
Their deaths brought to 38 the total killed so far this year.
The two victims of the Dundalk crash died in a three-car pile-up in the early hours of Saturday morning. They were passengers Eamon Curran, 40, of Woodbury Gardens, Dundalk, Co Louth, and Kevin O'Malley, 35, of Woodlawns Mill Road, Mornington, Co Meath. Four other people were badly injured.
Emergency services described the scene, just north of the town, as one of "complete and utter carnage".
The impact was so severe that one of the vehicles, a BMW 4x4, ended up on top of another vehicle, a Hyundai. The third vehicle, a Honda Civic, was so badly damaged that fire crews had to cut the injured free.
A Garda spokesman said later "the BMW came to theattention of gardai a short time earlier".
One emergency crew member at the scene described seeing wreckage strewn for around 100 yards, with ESB poles and walls damaged as well as the vehicles.
Sources said one victim of the crash was thrown from his car and found on the roadway. Five other people had to be cut from the wreckage. Theinjured include two men and two women. Two, a man and a woman, were later said to be in a critical condition.
The injured were brought to Louth County Hospital in Dundalk, and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.
The accident happened just after 4am outside the cemetery north of Dundalk on the old Newry Road, in a location known locally as Dowdall's Hill. Locals say the area is a notorious accident black spot.
One of the dead is believed to be a man in his 50s, thought to have been a passenger in the Hyundai. The secondfatality was the driver of the BMW, a man in his 20s.
Emergency crews battled to get the driver of the Honda Civic, who was very seriously injured, free of the wreckage. The road was closed for a time while crews worked to remove the injured, and gardai examined the scene to establish the cause of the tragic accident.
The latest deaths follow eight others during the week.
Last Sunday, a 24-year-old man died in a two-car collision at Killesk, Campile, Co Wexford. His identity has not been released.
On the same day, a motorcyclist was killed when her motorcycle collided with a car on the Ennis side of Corofin, Co Clare. She was Pauline Speake, 50, from Clare.
The following day, a Scotsman, Paul McGettin, 33, of Old Leighlin, Carlow died when his motorcycle hit a wall at Moanduff.
Tragedy struck in Co Carlow again on Tuesday when two people were killed when a car and bus collided at Aghafin, Mountrath in the early hours of the morning.
They were James Moore, 23, of Grangewatt, Tullow, Co Carlow and Louise Ryan, 22, of Patrick's Road, Limerick. None of the six occupants of the bus was injured.
Also on Tuesday, Michael Doyle, 20, of Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow died in a single-vehicle accident at Trooperstown near Roundwood.
On Wednesday, an elderly female driver died at Cloncurry Cross, Enfield, Co Meath when she was in collision with a lorry and a car. She was Josephine Lambe, 74, of Tullamore, Co Offaly.
The following day, Shane Ryan, 30, of Liscooney, Shannon Harbour, Co Offaly died in a single-vehicle accident at Lisdermott, Ferbane.