Families left broken-hearted after 8 hours of road carnage
Families and communities have been left devastated after four men were killed in three separate road collisions across the country.
The tragic incidents occurred yesterday morning in Kildare, Meath and Donegal.
A head-on collision in Co Kildare resulted in the death of a 24-year-old man. The victim was named as Michael Naughton, of Balraheen, Maynooth. Last night his family said they are totally devastated by his death.
The incident occurred on the road between Kilcock and Clane, and it is understood that a car and a truck collided at the townland of Baltracey.
The articulated truck, which was pulling a 40ft refrigerated container, ended up in a field from the force of the collision.
Mr Naughton was the sole occupant of the car, and he was pronounced dead at the scene before his body was removed to Naas Hospital.
The driver of the truck was taken to Blanchardstown Hospital and is being treated for minor injuries.
In the quiet rural townland of Balraheen the small community was shocked at the death.
Mr Naughton's father, Walter, paid tribute to his "pleasant and kind" son, telling the Herald: "Michael was a lovely lad, you wouldn't meet a nicer lad. He was a very quiet fella and a very pleasant, young man.
"He brought a lot of joy… it's just so sad. Michael was a saint."
The heartbroken father said his son was due to celebrate his 25th birthday next week.
A neighbour said the entire community is shocked by the tragedy.
"They are a lovely family, just lovely, and what happened is heartbreaking. They are quiet and private people and are well respected here," the neighbour said.
Elsewhere, a 42-year-old man was fatally injured when the car he was driving collided with a second car.
Father-of-two Shane Fleming, from Celbridge, Co Kildare, died after the incident on the R152 Dunboyne to Maynooth Road at Castlefarm, near Dunboyne.
He was taken by ambulance to Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, where he was later pronounced dead.
The driver and four passengers in the second car were also removed to hospital. Their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
Neighbours in the quiet cul de sac of Thornhill Gardens, where Mr Fleming lived, were coming to terms with his death last night.
"This is very hard news to take. It's shocking to think that such a thing could happen," said one man.
Mr Fleming is believed to have worked in the construction industry.
In Donegal, the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) are investigating another crash that left two young men dead.
A full investigation has been launched into the deaths of the men, who have been named locally as Barney McGinley and Dermot Boyle, who were in their late teens and early 20s.
Family members of the two dead men visited the scene of the crash yesterday morning amid desperately sad scenes.
At 4.45am the car they were travelling in collided with a van on the inbound carriageway of the N13 at Trimragh, Letterkenny, Co Donegal.
The two men were pronounced dead at the scene and the driver of the van was taken by ambulance to University Hospital, Letterkenny.
GSOC have confirmed they are investigating the incident.
"It appears that there had been some interaction between gardai and the vehicle in which the two young men were travelling in prior to the collision.
"GSOC will examine the circumstances to establish the facts in this regard," said a spokesperson.
The tragic deaths come after the Road Safety Authority (RSA) reported on Tuesday that 98 people have lost their lives so far this year in road accidents in Ireland.
The country's largest motoring organisation, the AA, says that people need to slow down.
The AA's Conor Faughnan said the tragic deaths are a devastating start to the upcoming bank holiday weekend.
"This weekend will see the typical driving patterns change - people are driving longer distances and on unfamiliar roads," Mr Faughnan said.
"Wear a seatbelt, slow down and never drink and drive."