Five people have died in three accidents in a weekend of tragedy on our roads.
Three young friends were killed in the early hours of yesterday morning after a car smashed through a heavy road sign as they drove to an all-night service station after a 21st birthday party.
Martin Brophy (20) was among three people who died when he lost control of his car.
Mother-of-one Angela Kelly (35) and Orla Curry (20) also lost their lives in the accident at Middlemount, some 5km from Rathdowney, Co Laois.
Both women, one in the front passenger seat and the other in the rear of the car, were pronounced dead before they could be transferred to Tullamore General Hospital.
Angela's nephew Jamie (16), a back-seat passenger in the car, managed to send a text from the car to seek help after the crash.
He thought he would not be able to escape the wreckage but then managed to free himself and go to a nearby house to raise the alarm before being rushed to Tullamore General Hospital. His condition is described as stable and his injuries are not life-threatening.
According to local parish priest Fr Martin Delaney, the door he called to was answered by the father of Kevin Bergin, who died at the same spot in an accident in 2008.
The accident occurred shortly after 3am at Middlemount on the Abbeyleix-Rathdowney Road.
It is believed the young man lost control of his car and was unable to prevent it smashing into the road sign.
"Some, if not all, of them had been at a 21st earlier in the evening, but it is understood that they had returned home, and then regrouped to drive to an all-night service station," one local told the Herald.
"Angela had a beautiful daughter and she's left without her mother," they added.
Fr Delaney paid tribute to the "incredible work" of the gardai and fire service who did absolutely everything possible at the scene.
"Young people have been gathering in groups around the town all day," he said.
"Everyone is lost for words and they're doing their best to support each other. It's a very close-knit community.
Meanwhile, a 21-year-old man died when the car he was a passenger in hit a bollard at Carnashannagh, Burnfoot, on the road to Buncrana in Donegal at approximately 11.30pm last night.
There were three men in the car at the time of the crash.
Gardai say the 18-year-old driver, and other 21-year-old passenger, were injured and taken to Letterkenny General hospital for treatment. The victim who died was pronounced dead at the scene.
Gardai in Newcastlewest, Co Limerick, are investigating a fatal accident at Rathkeale when a pedestrian in his 20s was killed when he was hit by a van.
The accident happened at approximately 3.30am at Blossomhill on the N21 Croagh to Rathkeale Road.
The male driver of the van and a female passenger, both in their late 20s, were uninjured in the accident.
Gardai are appealing for witnesses to all three accidents.