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Sunday 21 January 2018

Mum, daughter and friend named as victims of tragic road crash after family holiday

  • Three killed in car crash, which occurred north of Ardee
  • Donegal family and friends travelling home from foreign holiday
  • Three victims named locally as Margaret McGonagle, Mairead Mundy and Rachel Battles
  • Community in shock
Accident victims pictured (l-r); Margaret McGonagle, Racheal Cassidy Battles and Mairead Mundy
Accident victims pictured (l-r); Margaret McGonagle, Racheal Cassidy Battles and Mairead Mundy

Alan O'Keeffe, Laura Larkin and Cillian Sherlock

A mother, her daughter and a family friend are among the victims of a tragic road crash which occurred in the early hours of this morning.

The three women were killed in the crash, which occurred as they were travelling home from Dublin Airport after a family holiday.  

The victims have been named locally as Margaret McGonagle (69) Castlereagh, Bruckless, her daughter Mairead Mundy, Ballyloughan, Bruckless, aged in her thirties, and her friend Racheal Cassidy Battles, of Ballyloughan, Bruckless, also aged in her thirties.

The wider group were travelling from Dublin Airport to Donegal in two cars when the accident happened on the N2 near Aclint Bridge, a few kilometres north of Ardee.

Accident victims Mairead Mundy and her mother Margaret McGonagle
Accident victims Mairead Mundy and her mother Margaret McGonagle

It is believed they were returning from a foreign holiday and were undertaking the long road journey home to Donegal.

The crash happened around 12.30am and involved three cars.

Gardai were not releasing any details of the victims today until all relatives have been informed.

However, Independent.ie understands the family group was travelling together in two of the three vehicles involved in the crash.

Mairead Mundy who was one of the family who died in the three car crash near Ardee.
Mairead Mundy who was one of the family who died in the three car crash near Ardee.

It is understood the three deceased women were all travelling in the same car.

A young male passenger travelling in the car was seriously injured and was in critical condition in hospital today.

The injured male, along with another male from one of the other cars, were rushed to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

It is believed five people were in the car in which the three women died.

Racheal Cassidy Battles
Racheal Cassidy Battles

Male relatives were travelling in the car behind the women's car. 

Garda Superintendent  Fergus Traynor of Ardee garda station said: "An ambulance that was travelling on the road came upon the accident and they were able to assist at the scene.

"An off-duty garda was also among the first people at the scene," he said.

He said a number of fire brigade crews and ambulance crews went to the scene.

"The road was wet but it wasn't raining at the time of the accident. Later, weather conditions deteriorated horrendously with very heavy rain at the scene," he said.

The N2 is closed between Ardee and Aclint Bridge to facilitate a forensic examination and will remain closed for the day.

Diversions are in place but Gardaí are asking motorists using the M1 to divert at Junction 17 for Castleblayney.

Gardaí are appealing for witnesses to contact Ardee Garda Station 041 6871130, The Garda Confidential Line 1 800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

Ardee Fine Gael Councillor Delores Minogue said; "This is a terrible tragedy to happen to a Donegal family. The hearts of the community go out today to their relatives at this sad time."

"The N2 in this region is a ruthless road.

"I have been leading a campaign to get more filter lanes on the road in these areas.  There have been several very serious road accidents along the N2," she said.

County Monaghan Sinn Féin Councillor Colm Carthy described the incident as tragic.

“It’s very sad news to wake up to. It’s devastating. Our thoughts are with the families involved,” he said.

Cllr Carthy said the road was a ‘death trap’ that had "claimed a number of lives over the past few years".

“It is a reminder of deaths that have happened all too often now,” he said.

He said he hoped the males involved in the collision recover fully.

There have been a number of fatal incidents on the N2. The road is the main Dublin to Derry road and runs through Ardee and it is one of the most heavily trafficked roads in the country.

Most recently elderly cousins Josie Duff (79) and Kathy McDonald (70) were killed when they were it by a car after alighting from a bus last January, at Hunterstown south of Ardee.

Ardee based independent councillor Jim Tenaty described this morning's horror crash as a "shocking tragedy".

Mr Tenaty said that while it was much to early for the cause of the crash to be known there had been renewed safety concerns raised about the N2 in recent weeks.

Fianna Fail councillor Tommy Byrne said he is "absolutely heartbroken" over the news.

The road is a busy road, he said.

"It was a desperate night and the rain was torrential,” he added.

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