ONE of the two people who died in a bus collision in Cork has been named as a local priest.
Two people died and a child was being assessed for serious injuries after the collision involving a Bus Éireann bus on the Strand Road in Monkstown this afternoon.
Those who died were the driver of the bus, a man aged in his 50s, and a pedestrian, who was named this evening as Fr Con Cronin (68).
It is understood the bus collided with Fr Cronin and a number of parked cars at about 1.30pm.
This evening Bishop Fintan Gavin of the Diocese of Cork and Ross expressed shock and sadness at the death of Fr Cronin and extended his sympathies to the family of the driver and the injured child.
"We have learned with utter shock and sadness of the untimely death of Fr Con Cronin, curate in the Harbour Parishes of Passage West and Monkstown, who died as a result of an accident,” Bishop Gavin said.
“Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go to Fr Con’s family, his wide circle of friends, parishioners and his fellow priests in the St. Patrick’s Missionary Society, Kiltegan, as well as the priests of the Diocese of Cork and Ross.
“This tragic accident also leaves another family mourning the loss of a loved one and I extend my prayerful support to his family also.
Bishop Gavin said he was praying for healing and peace for those who were injured and those who witnessed the accident, and paid tribute to the professionalism and kindness of the emergency services who attended the accident scene.
“Fr Con has served in the Harbour Parishes since 2012 establishing a warm rapport both pastorally and personally with all to whom he ministered and all who had contact with him.
“He will be remembered fondly for his unique sense of humour and his openness to all people. He died on the day when the Gospel reminds us what happened the day Jesus asked Peter to step out of the boat and come to him across the water.
“Jesus called out to him, saying, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’
Bishop Gavin said Cork native Fr Con was ordained in 1979 and courageously ministered in Africa with the Kiltegan Fathers for 25 years before returning to Ireland in 2004.
“His love for his native place and its people - the Borlin Valley in Bantry Parish - never wavered,” he said.
“All who know Fr Con are grateful for having known him and our diocese is blessed that he ministered among us.
“We commend both men to the Lord and pray God’s comfort and consolation for all those who are in mourning."
Following the collision this afternoon, gardaí and paramedics raced to the scene with major traffic diversions being put in place.
It is understood the bus driver was pronounced dead at the scene, although initial indications are that this could be linked to a cardiac arrest rather than injuries sustained in the collision.
Fr Con was critically injured. Paramedics worked at the scene to assist him pending a transfer to Cork University Hospital (CUH).
However he was also pronounced dead at the scene this afternoon.
A third individual, a youngster, suffered suspected back injuries in the incident. The injuries involved, while believed to be serious, are not reported to be life-threatening.
Motorists were urged to avoid the area.
Initial reports are that up to three parked cars were damaged in the collision.
Gardaí in Togher are investigating the collision and have appealed for any witnesses to come forward.
"Any road users who were travelling on the Strand Road between 1.15pm and 1.45pm this afternoon, and who may have camera footage (including dash cam), are asked to make this footage available to investigating gardaí,” said a garda statement.
“Anyone with any information is asked to contact Togher garda station on 021 494 7120, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any garda station.”
In a statement Bus Éireann said it extended the deepest sympathies of the entire company to the family and friends of the two men who died.
It described the bus driver as “a long-standing and greatly valued employee based at the Capwell Depot”.
“This is a very tragic event. This is a terrible and sad day for everyone at Bus Éireann, and we are all heavy-hearted,” said Stephen Kent, CEO of the company.
“Our thoughts are with the families and communities affected by this loss. We would like sincerely to thank the emergency services for all their work and assistance today and our own employees who responded at the scene.”
The company said it is putting in place support measures for employees affected by the tragedy.
Bus Éireann said safety has always been its priority and it is also investigating the incident, and cooperating fully with the relevant authorities.