'He was our good luck charm' - Tributes paid to Limerick man killed in UK car crash
Tributes have been paid to a Limerick man who was killed in a car crash in England - the day before he was due to travel home for Christmas.
Shane Stokes (29) was killed in a five-car pile-up on the M40 in Oxfordshire late on Saturday night.
Thames Valley Police said a 60-year-old man was also killed in the serious collision.
Shane's girlfriend Ashley, who was also travelling in the car, remains in a serious condition in hospital.
He was due to fly to Shannon Airport on Christmas Eve morning to be with his family in Lisnagry, Co Limerick.
Tributes have been pouring in for Shane, who moved to the UK to work in the motor racing industry.
"Today, instead of wishing everyone a merry Christmas I would like to take this day to honour a very special member of our family whom we have just devastatingly lost," racing driver Rob Austin wrote on Facebook.
"Shane Stokes joined us at Rockingham in 2013, an event that saw us win our first BTCC race, since then he has been our good luck charm and progressed to become a pivotal and much-loved member of our team and a true friend. Rest In Peace big man, we love you and we will never forget you!"
Local Fianna Fáil councillor, Joe Pond, said the community has been left devastated by Shane's death.
"I would expect the community to rally around the family now. It's very hard to comprehend, especially coming up to Christmas. He was just a normal lad coming home to spend time with his family," Cllr Pond told Independent.ie.
Friends of Shane took to Facebook to pay tribute to the "talented" young man.
"I'm still in shock. What a lovely guy. It was such a pleasure to know you," one friend wrote.
Another described him as a "gentle giant".
Chief Inspector Henry Parsons from the Joint Operations Unit for Roads Policing, said: "Our thoughts are with both men’s families at this difficult time. We would like to speak to anyone who may have witnessed the collision who has not yet spoken to police.
"We would appeal to anyone who witnessed the collision and has not yet spoken to officers to please contact us. Anyone who has any information which could assist the investigation should call the 24-hour Thames Valley Police enquiry centre on 101 quoting URN 1669 (23/12)."
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said "We are aware of the case and are providing consular assistance."