THREE men travelling in a taxi were killed in a horrific road crash last night.
The accident happened a few miles outside Newcastle West, Co Limerick, on the busy N21 route at around 9pm.
Emergency services, including paramedics, firefighters and gardai, rushed to the scene at Garryduff, three miles outside Newcastle West, when alerted by passing motorists.
The identities of the three men have not yet been released.
All are aged in their late 20s to early 30s and are believed to have been travelling in a taxi towards Newcastle West.
It is believed they were returning from the opening day of the Listowel races in north Kerry and were passengers in a green Nissan Serena people-carrier.
It is understood that the taxi overturned after it was involved in a collision with a Silver Opel Corsa travelling in the opposite direction.
It is believed that the three men are all from the Newcastle West area. The driver of the Opel vehicle did not suffer life-threatening injuries.
Three units of Limerick Fire and Rescue Service from Abbeyfeale, Newcastle West and Rathkeale attended the scene.
The taxi-driver and two other male passengers in the Nissan escaped without life-threatening injuries. They were initially treated at the scene by paramedics.
One passengers is suspected to have sustained a broken arm while the other passenger was brought to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital as a precaution. The taxi-driver did not suffer any serious injuries.
It is believe that there were four people in the other car involved in the collision.
None suffered any serious injuries. It had rained sporadically throughout the day across west Limerick.
The main Limerick-Tralee road remained closed to rush- hour traffic this morning as emergency workers remained at the scene. Diversions were put in place for all motorists.
News of the accident quickly spread across the west Limerick region overnight.
Limerick County Councillor, Patrick O'Donovan, of Newcastle West, said the thoughts and prayers of the entire community was with the victims and their families.
"The general area is still shocked as word spread overnight of the incident," Mr O'Donovan said.
"It is devastating for the families involved and the whole wider community. It brings the whole issue of road safety to the forefront of our minds in what are very tragic circumstances," he said.
"Our sympathies go out to all the families of the three men who we believe are local," Mr O'Donovan added.
Investigations into the cause of the fatal collision were continuing today.