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Tragic crash sisters share a single coffin

TWO sisters shared a single coffin as their grieving parents bade them a heartbreaking farewell today.

Two-year-old Kate Gilmore and her three-month-old sister Grace were fatally injured when a car struck them as their father took them for a walk on Sunday afternoon.

Relatives sought to comfort distraught parents John and Michelle during the Requiem Mass at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Belclare. The single coffin was later buried at Killower cemetery.

At the same time in Dublin, crash victim Dean Cullen was laid to rest. The 21-year-old was killed when a car driven by his friend Simon Hand crashed into a tree on the Hartstown Road in the early hours of Monday. Simon (24) died later. Dean's funeral took place at St Mochta's Church in Porterstown.

In Galway, pink ribbons were tied outside every home in the Meadows estate in Tuam where the Gilmore sisters lived.

As darkness fell last night, candles burned brightly alongside the ribbons outside each and every neighbouring house as the little girls were waked in their home.

John and Michelle had not left their daughters' sides since they were brought home from hospital on Monday.

Books of condolences following the double tragedy were opened in Tuam County Council offices. Parents -- many with their children -- arrived throughout yesterday to pay their respects.

Amy Barry brought her daughter Aoife (19 months) with her. She said she came across the scene of the accident as she returned from Mayo on Sunday.

"I was crying my eyes out all night when I heard what happened. My heart goes out to their parents. It is the worst possible thing imaginable," she said.

Mary Muller from Tuam brought her young boy, Sander (5), to sign the book. "I pass by on that road every day. It is such a sad sight," she said.

The collection of floral tributes and soft toys has continued to grow on the roadside since the sisters' deaths.

Seizure

A doll is attached with a handwritten note from a young child. Surrounded by carefully drawn lovehearts, it reads: 'Hello Kate and Grace, I love you, from Ayla'.

And all in the town were also offering their prayers for motorist John O'Connor, who was driving the Toyota Avensis when he suffered a seizure and crashed into the children.

He was quizzed by gardai yesterday about the incident.

The O'Connor family live a short distance from the Gilmore home and passed on their sympathies to John and Michelle.

The sisters were rushed from the scene by two garda cars with off-duty medical workers in both vehicles because of the seriousness of their injuries.

hnews@herald.ie


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