Man (70) killed in two-car collision, raising death toll on roads
A 70-year old man has been killed in a two-car collision this afternoon.
The crash occurred at 3.40pm in Ballinalack, Co Westmeath on the N4 between Mullingar and Longford.
The 70-year-old driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
His body was taken to the mortuary at Mullingar Hospital.
His female passenger and two people in the second car received minor injuries and have been taken to Mullingar Hospital for treatment.
The road is currently closed to facilitate Garda Forensic Collision Investigators and diversions are in place.
Investigating Gardaí are appealing for witnesses, to contact Mullingar Garda Station on 044 9384000 The Garda Confidential Line 1800 666111 or any Garda Station.
Meanwhile, a father-of-six, a seven-year-old boy and a mother of newborn twins are among those who have lost their lives during a horrific 48-hour period on the nation's roads.
A total of six people, all of them under the age of 40, were killed across the country between Christmas Day and yesterday in what has been called a "dreadful Christmas for road safety".
The death toll on the country's roads now stands at 162 so far this year - 11 of whom died in just the past week.
In Offaly, the community of Pullough was plunged into mourning yesterday following the death of father-of-six Patrick Buckley (38).
The dedicated family man was driving alone when his car struck a bridge and plunged into the Grand Canal not far from his home shortly after noon.
He was taken to the Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore, where he was pronounced dead.
Mr Buckley's neighbour Eamonn Dunican described the death as "an awful tragedy".
"He had a young family, six children, and the youngest is in Junior Infants. He was a very talented man, a talented musician and a fantastic singer," he said.
"The community really look after each other. Everyone is thinking of the children. He was such a young man, 38 years, in the prime of his life and really dedicated to his family. You would rarely meet him without one of the kids," he added.
Young Wexford mum Judy Waters (29) was killed when the car she was travelling in collided with a wall in Camblin, just outside New Ross, shortly after 4.50pm on St Stephen's Day.
The mother of eight-week-old twins lived in St Martin's Park, Ballycullane. Shocked neighbours last night paid tribute to her as a "happy, polite young woman".
"She had her whole life ahead of her. Her family will be devastated by the news, especially her mother," said one local. "Her twins were premature, and were kept in hospital until their due date," she added.
Local councillor Michael Whelan said the dead woman's family, friends and neighbours were deeply shocked.
"There's been a huge outpouring of sympathy, particularly given the time of year - and the day - it happened. It's simply devastating for all concerned," he added.
It is understood Ms Waters had been working in Tesco supermarket in New Ross. Her death sparked an outpouring of grief on social media, with many paying tribute to the "lovable" young mother.
"Thinking of you Judy, your friends, family and young babies, and thinking of all families who lost people in crashes in last few days," wrote one distraught friend on Facebook.
North of the border, schoolboy Jackson Turner (7) died on St Stephen's night, several hours after he was involved in a three-vehicle collision in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim.
The horror smash occurred at the Old Carrick Road at approximately 6.30pm. Seven people were injured in the incident.
Little Jackson, who was a pupil at Sunnylands Primary School in Carrickfergus, died in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
A four-year-old girl is currently being treated for injuries sustained during the crash while a driver of one of the cars remains in a serious condition.
Earlier on St Stephen's Day, teenager Feargal O'Reilly was killed following a three-vehicle collision in Co Cavan.
The 18-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene after the car he was driving collided with another car and a truck at Kilcogy at about 7.30am while he was on his way to work.
Friends posted tributes to the young agricultural studies student on social media.
"This doesn't seem real at all. Cannot believe the news, Fergie you were something special, the most genuine lad I've met," wrote a friend.
The news comes in the wake of the tragic death of Dublin teen Warren Kenny, who was killed while riding a motorbike that he had been given as a present on Christmas morning.
The talented 16-year-old soccer player was killed shortly after 8am when his scrambler-type bike collided at speed with a similar vehicle on Cherry Orchard Avenue, Ballyfermot, Dublin, just metres away from his home. The other rider, a man in his 20s, sustained a broken arm.
Gardaí in Carlow are investigating a fatal collision which occurred later on Christmas night at Gorteengrone, at around 7.20pm. Polish national Lukas Bielinski (29) was struck by a vehicle as he walked on the roadside. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Meanwhile, Dublin man Evan Molloy (23) is fighting for his life in Beaumont Hospital after his motorbike collided with the side of a garda car on Buckingham Street about 4.50am on Christmas Day.
Hundreds of mourners gathered on St Stephen's Day to say goodbye to mother and daughter, Geraldine (58) and Louise Clancy (22), who died in a freak accident on their way to do Christmas shopping. The coffins of mother and daughter lay side by side at the altar of St Martin's Church in Kilworth, Co Cork, during the funeral Mass. They drowned after their car collied with another vehicle and veered through a ditch into a flooded field on the Kilworth to Ballyduff Road last Tuesday.
Road Safety Authority spokesman Brian Farrell appealed for people to take extra care, saying it had been "a dreadful Christmas for road safety".
"All we can do is renew our appeal for people to take extra care on our roads. If anything is to come from these awful tragedies, it is a reminder for all of us to be safe on the road. We've had an absolutely dreadful 48 hours.
"It's really important to take care every time you go on the road. You might be lulled into a false sense of security because you use some roads all the time, but you need to be just as careful on local roads," he added.