Two teenage girls have died and three other people were injured in yesterday’s horror crash in County Monaghan.
The girls, aged 16 and 17, died at the scene of the crash on the N54 in Legnakelly at 6:45pm yesterday.
Two other teenagers, a boy and a girl both aged 18, were taken to Cavan General Hospital where they are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the car, a 60-year-old man, is in critical condition at Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.
Monaghan County Council Caothairleach David Maxwell told Newstalk the group was travelling to a Debs celebration for Largy College in the town of Clones.
“It is in the middle of town there Largy College so the whole town of Clones and County Monaghan is, you know … you really can’t put into words the tragedy that has hit the county," he said.
On The Pat Kenny Show, Cavan-Monaghan TD Brendan Smith said everyone in the area is “absolutely shocked at this terrible tragedy”.
[The Debs are] a time of celebration, part of the school experience, young people go to their graduation - their Debs night - to celebrate,” he said.
“We are conscious of the excitement leading up to that and I heard people say the students had gathered in the diamond for the usual photographs getting together.”
He said the Debs are often the last time school groups formally gather together – and offered his sincere sympathy and deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those involved in the crash.
In a statement this afternoon, Largy College said everyone involved with the school is in “deep shock” after the accident.
“It is with profound sadness and grief that we have learned about the devastating accident that resulted in the untimely and tragic loss of two cherished members of our school community,” said Principal Sharon Magennis.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends who have tragically lost loved ones. The other individuals involved in the accident also remain in our thoughts and prayers at this time.”
Ms Magennis thanked the emergency services that responded and said her priority now is the wellbeing and welfare of students, parents and staff.
“We are grateful to the public for their deeply-felt expressions of support and ask that we be given the time and space to concentrate on supporting those in the school community who are most in need,” she said.
Gardaí are appealing for witnesses to the crash to come forward.
They are particularly interested in anyone with camera footage – including dash-cam – and were travelling on the N54 from Clones to Smithborough between 6.15pm and 7.00pm yesterday.
Listen back to Deputy Smith here:
Main image: Two Garda cars at the scene of a crash on a rural Irish road. Image via PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo.