Three women, 18, and man, 24, killed in crash before exam results party named

Four young people who all died in a crash while on the way to a school exam results celebration in Ireland have been named.

Zoey Coffey, Nicole Murphy and Grace McSweeney, all aged 18, were killed alongside driver Luke McSweeney, 24, when the car they were in crashed into a wall in Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

The group, who were heading to a party, have been named by Gardai following the horror smash in Mountain Road.

It’s believed was travelling downhill when it lost control and overturned near the entrance of the Hillview Sports Club. 

Superintendent Kieran Ruane, of Clonmel Garda station, extended his sympathies to the families of the victims.

He said: ‘An Garda Siochana supported by other emergency services including Clonmel fire brigade, HSE paramedics, Tipperary University Hospital and Tipperary County Council initiated a major incident response.

‘The scene at Hillview remains closed today and a technical and forensic examination is being carried out by An Garda Siochana forensic collision investigators.’

Mr Ruane added that their bodies were removed from the scene last night to Tipperary University Hospital.

Officers say the local coroner has been informed and post-mortems will be carried out over the coming days at Waterford University Hospital.

Members of the community, ministers and local politicians have expressed their shock at the tragedy, with local TD Mattie McGrath saying that ‘a time of celebration has turned to a time of devastation’.

He said that Clonmel had been ‘left numbed’ by the loss, and that it would ‘take some time to recover’, but said the community would rally around those grieving the losses.

Local sporting events and the Clonmel Pride parade, as well as other activities in the area, have been cancelled in the wake of the fatal crash.

A parish priest has asked the community to look after one another in the days ahead and the minister of education has pledged support for school staff and students affected.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said ‘we must come together in times such as this’.

He said that the Leaving Cert results night ‘should mark the beginning of a world of opportunities for young people’.

‘It’s a milestone on the road from childhood to adulthood,’ Mr Varadkar said in a statement.

‘For young lives, so full of possibility, to be cut short in this way is truly devastating and heartbreaking. The whole nation mourns them.

‘My sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who have died and the wider community in Clonmel and Tipperary. The thoughts of the whole country are with them, their school and their community.’

Ireland’s deputy leader and minister for foreign affairs Micheal Martin said he was ‘deeply saddened by the tragic, heartbreaking’ deaths.

‘Our thoughts and prayers are with their families, friends, classmates, the first responders, and the entire community today.’

Education minister Norma Foley has said her department will provide support to students and staff in the period ahead.

‘This is heartbreaking news on what should have been a day of enormous celebration and joy for the class of 2023,’ she said.

‘School communities in Ireland are akin to tight-knit families and I know this morning that staff, students, parents and guardians will be united in their grief and utter devastation at this tragic and sudden loss of life.

‘The Department of Education, through the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS), will provide essential supports to staff and students over the coming period.

‘The grief felt by those affected by the loss of four young lives is acute and we will do all that we can to support them at this sad and difficult time.’

Father Michael Toomey, administrator in the parishes of Ardfinnan, Ballybacon and Grange and Newcastle, Fourmilewater, said the victims’ families had expressed gratitude to the emergency services who attended the scene.

‘Sometimes no words seem adequate when a tragedy like what occurred in Clonmel tonight happens. No words can give comfort at this time,’ he said on Facebook.

‘My thoughts and prayers are with the families tonight who suffered a terrible loss in this terrible accident.

‘The local schools will be in touch tomorrow to help the entire community and to be there for everyone at this time.’

He added: ‘Please, look out for one another in these days, and don’t be afraid to look for help and support in the coming days.’

The Mountain Road in Clonmel remained closed on Saturday.

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