A young girl (8) is dead and her mum is fighting for her life after a horrific two-car collision in Co Cork yesterday.
The little girl, named locally as Zoe Scannell from Bogmount, Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick, died instantly when the car she was traveling in was in a collision with a car driven by a 17-year-old male.
The girl's mother, Alisha Scannell, a professional hair stylist, aged in her 30s, is fighting for her life in Cork University Hospital.
Her partner who was driving is said to be in a stable condition.
According to a Garda source, Ms Scannell, and her daughter were holidaying with friends in West Cork when their car - which contained four other passengers - was in a collision with the teenager's car on the N71, near Rosscarbery, at about 3pm yesterday.
Two adults - one of whom is understood to be Ms Scannell's partner - and two other children are said to have sustained minor injuries in the crash.
The 17-year-old, who was driving the second car, sustained minor injuries and was being treated for shock.
It's believed he was alone in the vehicle at the time of the crash.
"We're all shocked. Everyone in Abbeyfeale is just stunned really. No one can really believe it. It was Alisha Scannell and her daughter Zoe," said a local publican.
"They're not from the town as such; they live a bit outside it, at Bogmount. I don't know them personally," the source added.
The rural Abbeyfeale community has been left heartbroken. A local Garda broke down when asked about the tragedy which had claimed the life of little Zoe and which left her mother in a serious condition in hospital.
Emergency services in West Cork were alerted shortly after the fatal crash, however the Limerick girl was pronounced dead at the scene.
Her body was removed to Cork University Hospital for a postmortem examination.
Alisha Scannell, who works for Trendy Locks Hair Salon, Abbeyfeale, remains in a critical condition at CUH.
Zoe, who only recently celebrated her First Holy Communion, posed for photos on her big day with her family.
Alisha proudly posted the treasured photographs only two days before her little girl's sudden death.
On June 23, Ms Scannell didn't seem to have a care in the world as she enjoyed the glorious weather in Ballybunion, Co Kerry.
She posted a picture of clear blue skies and a golden sandy beach on her social media account alongside the message: "This is d life, lying on d beach in bally b. Fabulous here!!!!"
Only last week she left a now-poignant message on her Facebook page of how Zoe was growing up so fast, adding: "Corpus Christi mass last night, d last time my baby wears her communion dress".
Prayers were being said last night in West Limerick for the speedy recovery of Zoe's mum.
The fatal collision reportedly happened on a steep section of roadway near the turnoff for Owenahincha Beach.
An air ambulance helicopter was dispatched to the scene to airlift Ms Scannell to Cork University Hospital.
The scene was also attended by members of the coast guard, gardai, ambulance and fire crews. Specialised wincing and lifting equipment had to be used to get the occupants out of their vehicles and clear the road.
One of the two cars involved went off the road and ended at the bottom of a deep ravine.
Gardaí closed off the road for several hours and a Garda specialist forensic collision investigator was examining the area where both cars collided.
A major Garda investigation is underway into the exact cause of the collision.
Diversions were in place on the road for most of yesterday and last night on the stretch of roadway between Clonakilty and Skibbereen.
Anyone with information about the fatal crash is asked to contact Clonakilty Garda Station on 023 - 8821570 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.