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“The Whole Nation Mourns Her” – Taoiseach pays tribute to four young people who died in the tragic collision at Tipperary

Three teenage girls and a man in his 20s died in the accident Two of those involved are said to be siblingsSchools in the area have put plans into action for critical incidents

The lone vehicle collision happened just after 7:30 p.m. on Mountain Road in Clonmel, County Tipperary.

A male driver in his early 20s and three female passengers, all teenage adults, have been confirmed dead by Gardaí.

Four young people died in a tragic accident on the way to the Leaving Cert party

It is believed that the four people involved were on their way to a Leaving Cert party at the time of the accident.

According to local reports, the four suffered serious injuries and died at the scene of the accident. Two of those involved are said to be siblings.

Independent.ie understands the three teenagers in the car were schoolmates who had just received their exam results.

A forensic investigation on Lake Garda was carried out this morning in Clonmel following last night’s collision.

Mr Varadkar said the “thoughts of the whole country” are with the family, friends and the wider community of the victims of the tragedy.

He said the Leaving Cert graduation night should “mark the beginning of a world of opportunities for young people.”

“It’s a milestone on the journey from childhood to adulthood. For a young life full of possibilities, being cut short in this way is truly devastating and heartbreaking. The whole nation mourns her.

“My heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the deceased and to the wider community in Clonmel and Tipperary. The thoughts of the whole country are with them, their school and their community.

“I am confident that school boards and the HSE will work together to provide the support needed for their classmates and the community. In times like these we have to stick together.

“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha,” said Lord Varadkar.

Education Secretary Norma Foley confirmed that the Department of Education, through the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS), will provide essential support to staff and students in the coming period. Se said school communities are “comparable to close-knit families.”

“This is heartbreaking news on a day of celebration and joy for the 2023 vintage.”

“School communities in Ireland are like close-knit families and I know this morning that teachers, students, parents and guardians will be united in their sadness and utter despair at this tragic and sudden loss of life.

“The sadness of those affected at the loss of four young people is great and we will do all we can to support them at this sad and difficult time,” Minister Foley said.

NEPS works locally with schools in Clonmel to help provide critical incident plans and provide support to students and teachers.

The team, which was already supporting school communities following last year’s Creeslough tragedy, is expected to work with schools here for several weeks.

The students have been coming to the affected schools since around 11 a.m., where they are received by teachers and staff and given the time and space to support each other.

Local priest Father Michael Toomey spent last night with families affected by the tragedy and visited the scene this morning.

He said the community was in shock.

“Sometimes no words seem appropriate when a tragedy like that in Clonmel happens. No words can bring comfort at this time.”

Schools in the area have put critical incident plans into action and are talking to each other about how they can support students and the wider community.

“The families are currently devastated and in deep shock. We must keep them in our thoughts and prayers and indeed the community has done so,” Father Toomey said.

He also paid tribute to Gardaí and the rescue workers who were on the scene last night supporting the families of those killed in the crash.

“All emergency services were fantastic last night. Obviously it’s something they never want to see or deal with.

“As a community, we are devastated and shocked. Out of respect, numerous events here or in the surrounding villages have now been canceled.

“We are just looking outside at the moment and my role now is to coordinate with the schools, their friends and immediate family to create a safe space to come together and mourn.

“It’s a sudden heartbreak. It is something that cannot be put into words.”

He urged all students and families in the area affected by the tragedy who feel they need support to reach out to others, including local schools.

Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan said in a statement today: “We are all shocked at the tragic news that four young people lost their lives in the car accident near Clonmel, Co. Tipperary last night.”

“I offer my sincere condolences to all of the families, friends, classmates and teachers of the deceased. Together with the entire community of people of Clonmel, the Diocese and across the country, we will be there to stand by and support those heartbroken and all affected by this tragedy.”

The scene of the accident remains cordoned off this morning and roads in the area are closed to allow for an ongoing investigation at Lake Garda.

The car remains at the scene of the accident.

The canceled events also include a local Pride parade due to take place today.

Organizers said their minds were “occupied by the heavy loss that has befallen our city.”

Local independent TD Mattie McGrath described the incident as “devastating” for the local community and “every parent’s worst nightmare”.

“Every gardaí parent’s worst nightmare has confirmed a number of fatalities,” Deputy McGrath said.

“Absolutely devastating news from Clonmel. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in this terrible tragedy, their families, friends and classmates and the entire Clonmel school community.

“What a heartbreaking time and such devastating news for all students and their families. Destructive.”

Tánaiste Micheál Martin said the Clonmel crash was “heartbreaking”.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic, heartbreaking loss of four young people in Clonmel. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families, friends, classmates, first responders and the entire community today,” said Mr. Martin.

The collision occurred on Mountain Road at the southern entrance to the city.

The Garda Forensic Collision Investigators (FCI) have been asked to conduct an investigation into the scene of the accident, which will take place today.

An operations center was set up at Clonmel Garda train station and a senior investigating officer was put in charge of the investigation.

Images of the immediate aftermath of the collision were shared on social media.

“An Garda Síochána is appealing to the public not to release any of these materials if they receive them, out of respect for the privacy of the deceased and his family and friends,” a spokesman said.

Clonmel Mayor Councilor Richie Molloy said the tragedy stunned the town.

“This is really shocking news. As a parent myself, I can only imagine what the parents of these young people are going through,” he said.

“At this point we do not know who was involved but I know there are a number of families who are receiving the most horrible and tragic news tonight.

“Today was a happy day for the young people who received their high school diploma results.

“This has thrown a cloud of sadness and heartache across the entire community, young and old. Everyone is thinking and praying for the families at this time.”

The mountain road is known locally for the fact that it climbs very steeply in places.

It connects the town of southern Tipperary with Waterford and the eastern part of the Knockmealdown Mountains.

A major ambulance was dispatched to the clash, with several ambulances, Tipperary Fire Brigade and Garda units on the scene.

The Coast Guard’s Rescue 117 rescue helicopter, based in Waterford, was also on standby.

Gardaí closed the affected road to facilitate the work of the emergency services.

Motorists were asked to avoid the area and set up local diversions.

A major emergency response has also been deployed at South Tipperary General Hospital with medical standby support at both University Hospital Waterford (UHW) and Cork University Hospital (CUH).

Gardaí are asking any witnesses to this collision to contact the investigation team.

All road users who may have camera footage (including dashcam) and who were driving in the Mountain Road area between 7:00 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. are asked to make these footage available to Gardaí.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Clonmel Garda Station on 052 617 7640, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

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