Friday 18 January 2019

Online fund set up for family of man killed in horrific crash

Tragedy struck as family was heading to the beach for a bank-holiday day out

Bill Browne

The family of the woman whose partner lost his life in a horrific Bank Holiday Monday crash in North Cork have set up an online fund appealing for the public to help support "a family in tragedy".

Father of seven Patrick McMahon, who was originally from Douglas but living in Churchtown, died after the van he was driving was in collision with a tractor at around 1pm on the R522 at Ballincurrig on the Buttevant to Liscarroll Road. 

His 14-year-old daughter Vanessa (Nessa) and her boyfriend Thomas Crowley (17), who were passengers in the van sustained serious injuries in the crash. 

Such was the damage caused by the crash it took emergency services two hours to remove the teenagers from the van, after which they were airlifted to the GAA pitch in Bishopstown by rescue helicopter 112 from where they were rushed to  Cork University Hospital (CUH). 

It is understood that Nessa is fighting for her life while Thomas, a student at Cólaiste Mhuire in Buttevant who was due to start his Leaving Cert exams on Wednesday, remains in a serious condition. 

In a further tragic twist, Mr McMahon's partner, Gillian McAllen, was travelling behind the van in a car as the family were heading to the beach for a family day out. She arrived at the scene of the crash just moments after it happened. 

The driver of the tractor, a man in his 20s, was not injured but he was treated for shock following the accident. Mr McMahon, who is survived by his partner and children Jasmine, Vannessa (Nessa), Frank, Sinead, Holly, Joy and Soirse, will be laid to rest on Friday at St Gobnait's Cemetery in Mallow, following requiem mass at Christ the King Church in Turner's Cross. 

Local county councillor John Paul O'Shea said the tragedy has stunned the tightly knit community in Churchtown and the surrounding area. 

"Words can hardly do justice to the sense of sheer shock felt locally at what has happened. It is like a black cloud of sorrow has descended on the local community. To see what should have been an enjoyable family day out at the beach suddenly turn into such a devastating tragedy is just heartbreaking," said Cllr O'Shea. 

"While the family do not originally come from the Churchtown area, I have no doubt but that the local community will be there to help and support them over the coming days and weeks," he added. 

Meanwhile, a Go Fund Me account created by Gillian McAllen's brother Daniel on Tuesday had raised almost €3,500 within 24-hours of being set up. 

A heartbreaking message posted to the page under the banner 'Help a family in tragedy!'  read that on Monday, June 4 "our sister Gillian's family was shattered forever through tragedy." 

"Her beloved partner, friend and father to their children, Patrick was killed as the result of a road collision. His daughter and her boyfriend were seriously injured too. Their outcomes are still uncertain and our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families," read the message. 

It went on to say that this is "an extremely traumatic and deeply sad time" for all the immediate and extended families that have been affected.

"We are conscious that there are many financial demands in everyone's life but we are asking for help for Gillian and her children at this time. Patrick was her love and father to their children. He was also their provider," read the message. 

"Please, we ask you to consider giving what you can. Every bit will help. And share this with everyone on your friends list. Thanks for taking the time to read this. And thanks for helping and sharing," it concluded. 

To donate to the page go to