Thursday 18 January 2018

Priest tells of communities' crash devastation

A local priest called to the scene of the crash in Co Kerry said several communities had been deadened by the loss of life.

Father Kevin McNamara, who knew some of the teenagers, said emergency crews were working amid utter devastation.

Up to 15 firefighters were on a steep ditch trying to cut the teenagers from the mangled wreckage.

The driver and a front seat passenger had been cut out of the wreckage by the time the priest arrived.

"The fire brigade were working unbelievably in just getting the three others out from the back seat," he said.

"We were waiting, just waiting for them to come out - then the devastation, the tracksuits, young clothes and young people and the first one (of the brothers) came out and was pronounced dead."

The priest was called to the crash scene at 7.30am, several miles from the parochial house.

Michael Flynn, assistant chief fire officer in Co Kerry, said: "It's a job that needs to be done at the time.

"It's our job to free the people and give them over to the medical service. We just have to try and stay focused."

He described how the car lost control and ploughed down a deep roadside ditch.

"The car crashed and hit a ditch and an oak tree. The driver's side took all the impact," the fire chief said.

"The car was wedged between the road, the field and the tree down a 10ft drop."

Parents of the dead arrived hours later and left flowers at the roadside.

"The only thing we can do is stand shoulder-to-shoulder with people at the moment," Fr McNamara said.

"We can talk about the banks but today when you think of young lives, all in their teenage years, their whole life ahead of them, life gone in a swift minute.

"(It was) a lovely day, a lovely crisp day, a nice day in Killarney but there is darkness, there's sadness around, there's real pain at the loss that is being felt.

"Just when we thought, when the roads are reasonable we had a good record up to today and this happens and it has just deadened us all. It has just saddened us.

"Whatever little argument you are in, whatever little corner you are in, just remember us in Killarney that we will be able to journey with those and hand those young people back to God."

Fr McNamara said the families of the victims were well known in and around the Killarney area.

"There is an awful helplessness," he added.

Press Association

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