A WOMAN who died following a car crash outside Gorey last Thursday morning was a Canadian television producer who was holidaying in the area.
Deborah Sharp Furlong (48) was alone in the car which collided with a four-wheel drive vehicle on a relatively straight stretch of road near Casey's Quarry, on the old N11 between Gorey and Clough. The other driver, a local man in his forties, received minor injuries, but was understandably shocked and traumatised. He was treated at Wexford General Hospital.
Ms Sharp Furlong, a mother of two children from a previous marriage, was the wife of John Furlong, a Tipperary native, who is very well known in Canada, having acted as CEO of the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. The couple married last summer.
They were staying in the Gorey area while on holiday, but Mr Furlong was out of the local area when the crash occurred. Attempts were made to get him to the scene of the tragedy before Ms Sharp Furlong was brought to Tallaght Hospital by air ambulance.
A spokesman for Gorey Garda Station said contact was made with Mr Furlong from the scene of the crash, but it wasn't possible to get him to the scene on time before the helicopter took off from a nearby field. 'We had to get her to hospital as quickly as possible,' he said.
The crash occurred at around 10.30 a.m. and Mr. Furlong was by her bedside at 2.30 p.m. when she passed away in Dublin. Arrangements were being made to bring her remains home to Canada.
Gardaí said they are still investigating the cause of the head-on collision, and a forensic collision investigator examined the scene. The hire car will also be examined, and the results of a post mortem are awaited.
In a statement issued afterwards, John Furlong said: 'It is with a broken heart that I must tell you of the death of my beloved wife.
'While our extended families are beyond words over this loss, we would like to thank our friends and well-wishers for their heartfelt concern and condolences as our families face this sudden and painful tragedy,' he added.
Deborah Sharp Furlong worked as an associate producer on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's series 'Arctic Air'. A spokesman for the programme said she 'put her heart and soul into everything she did for the show'.
She also worked on various other television series such as 'Cold Squad', 'Search and Rescue' and 'Stargate SG-1', on which she worked as a post-production co-ordinator.
John Furlong led the team that bid for, organised, and staged the highly successful Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
His has been awarded The IOC's Olympic Order and the IPC's Paralympic Order, and has been recognised by The Globe and Mail as Canada's Nation Builder of 2010, as one of the top 25 most transformational living Canadians and has been named Canadian of the Year by The Canadian Club. In 2009, he was named Canada's Most Influential Sport Figure. He has five children and 11 grandchildren. His book 'Patriot Hearts – Inside the Olympics that changed a Country' became an instant national bestseller when it was launched in February 2011.