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Tuesday 20 February 2018

Neighbours pay respects to Tuam road acccident victims Kate and Grace

Amy Barry signs the book of
condolences as she holds her
daughter Aoife
Amy Barry signs the book of condolences as she holds her daughter Aoife

Barry Duggan

PINK ribbons were tied outside every house in the neighbourhood of two little sisters who spent their very last night at home after a road accident claimed their lives.

Kate Gilmore (2) and her three-month-old sister Grace were struck down on the N17 near the Meadows estate in Tuam, Co Galway.

As darkness fell last night, candles burned brightly alongside the ribbons outside each and every neighbouring house as the little girls were waked in their home.

Grieving parents John and Michelle Gilmore have not left their daughters' sides since their remains were released from hospital on Monday and brought home.

A candle burns continuously inside the Gilmore home and they are being supported by their families, neighbours and friends in a very tight knit community.

John is from Cortoon while his wife comes from Belclare -- neighbouring parishes of Tuam -- and both are held in high regard.

Today the couple will bring their only daughters on their final journey to the Sacred Heart Church in Belclare for an emotional farewell.

Books of condolences have been opened in Tuam county council offices.

Local resident Amy Barry brought her daughter Aoife (19 months) with her. She said she came across the scene of the accident as she returned from Mayo.

"I was crying my eyes out all night when I heard what happened. I slept with Aoife in my bed that night and gave her a big hug," Ms Barry said.

The collection of floral tributes and soft toys, including several favourite children's characters from 'The Smurfs' and 'Winnie the Pooh', has continued to accumulate on the roadside since Kate and Grace's deaths last Sunday.

A handwritten note attached to a doll, and surrounded by carefully drawn hearts, reads: "Hello Kate and Grace, I love you, from Ayla."

Residents are also offering prayers for motorist John O'Connor who was driving the car when he suffered a seizure and crashed into the children. He has been questioned by gardai. The O'Connor family live a short distance from the Gilmores and have passed on their sympathies.

The Irish Independent has also learned that the sisters were rushed from the scene by two garda cars with off-duty medical workers in both vehicles.

The emergency workers, who came across the scene, decided to travel in the patrol cars and meet ambulances en route because of the seriousness of the girls' injuries.

One of the sisters was then transferred to an ambulance and brought to University Hospital Galway while her sister was rushed there by gardai.

Today's funeral Mass at noon will be followed by burial at Killower cemetery.

Meanwhile, a 32-year-old lorry driver who died when his motorbike was in a collision with a car was due to get married next year.

The community of Dripsey, Co. Cork is in mourning following the death of Garry Cotter.

Mr Cotter, from O'Mahony's Terrace, Dripsey, Co. Cork was killed when his motorbike was in the collision last Sunday on the R618 near Iniscarra Dam, 10 miles outside Cork city.

Irish Independent

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