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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Family picnic ends in tragedy as boy (4) dies in car crash

Jack McDonnell with his twin brothers, Sean and Philip, and mother Carmel Cummins, from Doon, Co Limerick
Jack McDonnell with his twin brothers, Sean and Philip, and mother Carmel Cummins, from Doon, Co Limerick
Jack McDonnell (4), centre, with his twin brothers, his mother Carmel and father John

Ralph Riegel and David Raleigh

A PICNIC at an Irish beauty spot ended in tragedy for a family of five when their youngest son was killed in a collision.

Jack McDonnell (4), who only celebrated his fourth birthday in May, died when the car in which he was travelling with his parents, John and Carmel, was in collision with another vehicle at Patrickswell Cross on the road to Lough Gur in Co Limerick.

The family, from Doon, Co Limerick, were travelling home after a day out at the famous lakeside beauty spot when the tragedy occurred on the Lough Gur to Herbertstown Road at 1.15pm.

Lough Gur is famous because of its scenic lake and a number of world-famous Stone Age sites nearby.

It is particularly popular with families for picnics and lakeside walks.

Jack died instantly in the collision, while his six-year-old twin brothers, Sean and Philip, miraculously escaped serious injury.

The little boy was securely strapped into his baby seat but is understood to have suffered a freak head injury.

John (30) suffered multiple injuries and was rushed to University Hospital Limerick, where his condition was last night described as stable.

The female driver of the other vehicle, a woman from Pallasgreen, Co Limerick, and the three children in her car also avoided serious injury.

Carmel Cummins, who is a native of Doon, was in the front passenger seat but suffered only cuts and bruises. Her partner John is from Limerick.

The scene of the crash in Patrickswell, Lough Gur

The four surviving family members were treated at the scene for shock before being transferred to University Hospital Limerick.

Doon Parish Priest Fr Tony Ryan said the tightknit community was shocked by the tragedy and hailed John and Carmel as utterly devoted parents who are devastated by the loss of little Jack.

"The scale of the tragedy is only sinking in now," he told the Irish Independent.

It is believed the McDonnells had been travelling home from Lough Gur and had just turned for the direction of Herbertstown when the crash occurred.

"It was a side-on crash rather than a head-on crash," a garda source explained.

"The baby boy was strapped into a baby seat with his parents in the car. He died instantly on impact. He had no chance really," the source added.

Gardai at Bruff (061) 382940 have appealed for witnesses to contact them at the station or on the confidential hotline on 1800-666-111.

Meanwhile, a young man was killed after he fell out of the tractor he was driving, and went under a trailer he had been towing.

Gardai in Ballymote, Co Sligo are investigating the incident that occurred at Clogher Monasteraden about 6.20pm just off the R294 Boyle to Gurteen road.

The 22-year-old man was the sole occupant of tractor drawing a trailer.

He was ejected from the tractor and received fatal injuries when struck by the trailer. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Irish Independent

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