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Pals pay tribute as teen drowns in pier plunge

FRIENDS of a Tallaght teenager who drowned in a jeep that plunged off Courtown Harbour have paid tribute to him while gardai carry out an investigation into the incident today.

Mark Farrell (19), from Cushlawn Walk, was a passenger in the jeep that crashed through a barrier wall on the pier and dropped into the sea below.

The alarm was raised at around 10.30pm on Friday when witnesses saw the jeep smash through the barrier at the pier edge.

The driver and the second passenger, both in their teens, were both rescued from the water after they managed to escape the vehicle.

But Mark Farrell's body was later recovered from the jeep by divers.

Heartbroken pal Debbie McLernon wrote on Facebook: "Never been so heartbroken in my life, can't believe you're gone Mark, I'd do anything just to see you again. RIP Mark, I love you."

One witness said it was a miracle that anybody escaped alive because the jeep crashed through the concrete barrier so hard.

"There is a T- Junction at the end of the road where the harbour wall is and the boys lost control of the vehicle," said the source.

Rescuers from Courtown lifeboat and the coastguard were hampered in their rescue efforts by bad weather.

"There are two rivers entering Courtown Harbour, and with the amount of rain we've had in the last 48 hours, there was a lot of debris being washed down those two rivers," said Aine Stafford of the Courtown RNLI.

"Winds were gale force too, so there was a big run on the sea coming into the harbour. Conditions were very hard."

Mark's body was removed from the submerged car and he was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was then removed to Waterford Regional Hospital for a post mortem.

Mark had been on holiday in the Wexford town and was believed to have been visiting his grandfather.

The two other teens involved are said to be from the Courtown area and were to be interviewed by gardai as part of the investigation into Mark's death.

Mark's family were too upset to talk about the crash today.

In a second fatal accident, Peter Claydon (21) was killed after his car hit a verge and went out of control at a sharp bend in the road near his home in Newport, Co Mayo.

He was driving home with his girlfriend when the accident happened at 3.15am on Saturday.

She is being treated in the intensive care unit of Mayo General Hospital.

One local described the stretch of road where the accident happened as dangerous.

Another man is fighting for his life in hospital after the van in which he was a passenger overturned on a road in the townland of Ballinaglack near Ballybofey in Co Donegal.

The 34-year-old has not been named. Two other men were also taken to hospital with minor injuries.

And an elderly couple were lucky to escape injury when they lost control of the car they were travelling in and crashed into a hedge at the corner of Grange Road and Barton Drive in Rathfarnham, Co Dublin.