Monday 21 October 2019

'A loving wife, devoted mother, a caring daughter and much more' - second woman killed in tragic crash laid to rest

Deirdre Kilmartin and Maureen Dooley died at the scene of the crash
Deirdre Kilmartin and Maureen Dooley died at the scene of the crash

Daragh Small

A parish priest has told how the joy of a schools rugby cup win was shattered just two days later by a double tragedy which has devastated a community.

Fr John Garvey, parish priest of Ballinasloe, was speaking at the funeral of Maureen Dooley, the second of the pedestrians who was killed in a road accident in the east Co Galway town last Thursday evening.

Her close friend, Deirdre Kilmartin, was laid to rest on Monday. The two women, both in their 50’s, were out for their regular walk when they were fatally injured in a two-car accident.

One of Mrs Dooley’s son, Odhrán, was on the Garbally College team from Ballinsloe which won the Connacht schools senior cup title at the Sportsground in Galway city on Tuesday, while Marist College in Athlone, where she was a maths teacher, won the junior cup final that day.

Fr Garvey, who was joined by Bishop John Kirby at the funeral mass at St Michael’s Church in Ballinasloe today, said it was hard to fathom how such joy could turn to tragedy in such a short length of time.

“This day last week was so different for you. You as a family were preparing and went to the Connacht schools rugby finals. Being on the winning side, enjoying a wonderful day, tremendous pride.

“And yet just two days later as a result of this freak and terrible tragedy you were thrown into darkness.

“From going about your normal routine on Thursday evening to being forced to come to terms with the dreadful news that Maureen’s life and that of her good friend Deirdre were taken so suddenly.

Maureen Dooley
Maureen Dooley

“We can only get a glimpse of what you are experiencing.

“Maureen’s life was characterised by a positive and enthusiastic approach she took to everything. Maureen was a selfless, emphatic and kind person.

“It’s brilliant to see so many students here, teachers and colleagues. She was a brilliant teacher, a mother to everybody and she brought the best out of everybody that she taught,” said Fr Garvey.

Mrs Dooley, who is survived by her husband Aidan, her daughter Lauren, and her two sons Cian and Odhrán, was a generous and talented woman, according to her sister Adrienne.

“A loving wife, a devoted mother, a loyal caring daughter, a much admired and respected sister, a superb maths teacher, a trusted friend and so much more to so many people.

“But whatever adjectives we used above to describe Maureen much loved fits every time.

“Last Thursday night Maureen set out as she did many nights every week, never realising it would be her last time to walk with her friend Deirdre.

“The entire town is familiar with this pair and their ritual. Deirdre would finish work at 6pm and they would meet in the car park beside the old library. And set off on their chosen route for that night.

Deirdre Kilmartin
Deirdre Kilmartin

“As they walked and all the time talked the talk. I’m sure we were all discussed in detail many times.

“I know because I would sometimes ring Maureen and she would say: ‘I can only talk for a few minutes I’m meeting Deirdre’.

“We are very conscious today that we are not alone in our loneliness and grief. But we sharing it with another family, the other families.

“We cannot talk about walking and not mention Deirdre," Adrienne said.

She also spoke about the special bond that she had with her sister.

Adrienne told the congregation: “As siblings we all had our talks and unique relationships with Maureen.

“For me she was my daily connection. As I dropped my kids to their schools every morning, and proceeded to drive to mine, Maureen was at the same time making the journey from Ballinasloe to the Marist in Athlone.

“It was a given that she called me or I called her. We made that journey together every morning.

“As I reached the rural beauty and solitude of the Slieve Aughty Mountains, Maureen was heading for traffic jams and waiting for a parking space in the bustling activity of Athlone.

“We covered a lot of ground in those 25 minutes every morning. And it is something that I will treasure forever.

“Rest in peace my beautiful sister, we will miss you so much.”

Mrs Dooley’s son Odhrán paid tribute to the emergency services for all that they did following the accident.

“On behalf of both the Dooley and Flanagan families we would like to express our sincere gratitude to the emergency services, Garda Síochána, the fire brigade and the ambulance services which tended to mam.

“A special word of thanks also to John Jordan a friend and neighbour who was first on the scene, and to the hospital staff in Portiuncla,” he said.

Pupils from Garbally College and Marist College, in their school uniforms, formed a guard of honour as Mrs Dooley’s remains were taken to Creagh Cemetery in the town for burial.

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