Monday 19 March 2018

Crash victims' mother tells of knock on door

The remains of the car pictured at the scene of the accident near Killarney. Photo: Frank McGrath
The remains of the car pictured at the scene of the accident near Killarney. Photo: Frank McGrath
Sheila Breen speaking yesterday after learning that her sons Kevin and David were killed in the car crash near Killarney. Photo: Frank McGrath
Aine O'Riordan and David Breen died in the crash
A photograph of Kevin and David Breen, taken when they were at primary school
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A HEARTBROKEN mother of two teenagers killed in a horrific road crash yesterday spoke of her "total nightmare" after gardai arrived at her door to confirm the devastating news.

David (17) and Kevin Breen (15) died along with David's girlfriend Aine O'Riordan (15) and another friend, Brian Coffey (19), after the car they were travelling in crashed into a tree.

The 2000-registered Hyundai Accent car spun out of control on a severe bend at Carrigeen-Crosstown on the main N72 Killarney-Mallow road at 7.15 yesterday morning. The car then plunged down an embankment before it embedded itself into a large tree trunk.

A fifth friend, 16-year-old Darragh Jones, was the only survivor of the crash. He was fighting for his life last night in Tralee General Hospital.

David and Kevin's grief-stricken mother Sheila broke down in tears yesterday as she recalled the last time she saw her beloved sons alive.

"Their friends called for them last night. They were very happy and in great form as they headed off. I don't even think they said goodbye," she told the Irish Independent.

"Aine was David's girlfriend. They had been going out together for almost two years and were totally mad about each other. They were always together and got on so well. (Aine) was a lovely girl and I really liked her -- I just cannot believe they are all gone."

The mother of six spoke of the special bond between the two brothers, how they were so close they could have been twins. Sheila's husband Denis 'Dinny' Breen held the mother of six in his arms as they struggled to comprehend the enormity of their terrible loss.

Dinny recently retired as a caretaker from St Brendan's College in Killarney, which David and Kevin both attended.

Family, friends and neighbours called to the family home in Hazelwood Drive in Killarney to show their support and sympathy yesterday.

The Breen family had been anticipating a quiet Wednesday morning when the the doorbell rang. Outside, two grim-faced gardai confirmed the news every mother prays they will never have to hear.

"It's terrible -- just terrible. It's a total nightmare," Sheila added, her voice quivering.

The latest fatalities bring to 137 the number of people killed on Irish roads so far this year.

Yesterday's quadruple fatality comes just weeks after seven young friends and an elderly man were killed in Donegal in the single worst road accident in the history of the State.

Gardai were last night attempting to piece together the exact cause of the latest road tragedy.

They were also trying to confirm the precise movements of the car in which the five teenagers were travelling, but it is suspected the car crashed while it was driving in the direction of Killarney.

The five teenage pals are understood to have been returning home after attending a house party in the Barraduff area.

At least one of the five is understood to have been socialising in Tralee earlier on Tuesday evening, where the Rose of Tralee Festival had its grand finale.

Gardai are trying to establish the exact time all five teens left Killarney together to attend the house party. They also want to confirm the precise ownership of the Hyundai Accent car amid reports it is registered to a Kerry garage.

It is also not yet clear who was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash.

Full post-mortems and toxicology tests on all four victims were carried out at Tralee hospital last night.

Gardai in Killarney appealed to anyone who was travelling on the N72 between Killarney and Barraduff between 5am and 7.30am yesterday to contact them to assist their inquiries.

Relatives and friends of the victims were horrified at the scene that greeted them as they arrived to lay wreaths at the crash site.

After plunging down an embankment, the car embedded itself in a large tree trunk, part of which even penetrated the passenger cabin.

Paramedics and Killarney fire brigade officials had to cut off the roof of the car to free all five young friends from the mangled wreckage.

Gardai closed the busy N72 for most of the day as major traffic diversions were put in place.


Accident scene investigators conducted a painstaking examination of the roadway before the wrecked silver Hyundai was removed for analysis by Public Service Vehicle inspectors at a garda yard.

Social networking sites were last night flooded with moving tributes to the dead teenage victims.

One friend of the Breen brothers and Aine O'Riordan left an emotional tribute: "Rest in peace David, Aine and Kevin. We are all going to miss you all so much. I cannot believe you are gone. You are forever in my thoughts."

Another pal of the Castleisland teenager said her death had shocked the entire area.

"Rest in peace, Aine girl. You were totally sound out. You are never going to be forgotten -- nothing will ever be the same without you."

Kevin Breen had been scheduled to sit his Junior Cert in 2011. David and Aine were excitedly planning to attend her grads-debs ball next year.

David was also "sports-mad", with GAA and soccer his first loves. The 17-year old was a talented underage player with Killarney Celtic. Friends had urged him to go for trials with the League of Ireland and professional clubs in England.

Kevin was also a highly-regarded GAA player and starred with local Killarney club, Spa.

David and Kevin are survived by their four siblings, Michael (21), Denis (19), Mary (11) and Bill (3).

A special book of condolences has now been opened at Ballyspillane Community Centre. It is expected a second book will be opened by Killarney Town Council.

Funeral arrangements for all four dead teenagers are expected to be confirmed today.

Irish Independent

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