Boy (5) and man killed in horror road smash
A five-year-old boy and a man in his 30s have died in a horrific head-on crash between a car and a lorry.
Two other children were also injured, one of them critically.
Emergency services said the scene of the crash outside Tullamore, Co Offaly, yesterday afternoon was one of "carnage".
The 30-year-old driver of the car and a five-year-old boy both lost their lives.
Two other children were also in the car, a girl and a boy.
Last night the girl was said to be fighting for her life.
She was airlifted to Crumlin Children's Hospital in Dublin and was said to be in a critical condition.
She was due to undergo emergency surgery.
The boy was taken by ambulance to the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore with serious injuries.
The driver of the articulated lorry was also taken to the Tullamore hospital with minor injuries.
A major emergency response operation was launched following the crash on the N80 Tullamore to Mountmellick Road at around 5pm.
The scene of the crash, at Scrubb, Killeigh, was sealed off last night as garda forensic collision investigators carried out an examination.
A man who lives about 150 metres from the crash site said: "I was at home around 5pm and I heard a bang. When I went outside I saw the driver (of the lorry) with a phone in his hand," he told the Herald last night.
"I thought no more of it until a bystander said he thought there was a fatality."
Despite a series of heavy rain showers throughout the day, the man said the weather was fine at the time of the accident.
Although that particular stretch of road is not considered hazardous, the N80 tends to be very busy, especially between 5pm and 6pm.
Fr Shane Crombie, a priest at the Church of the Assumption in Tullamore, said the tragic loss of life came as a shock to the local area last night.
"Our prayers go to to the families. The whole community will be offering their prayers and thoughts to the families involved," he added.
Local resident Rob Kelly, who lives just outside the village, said the news of the deaths came as a shock to locals and described it at a "tragedy".
He said the stretch of road where the accident happened is very busy at rush hour.
He said the accident is the first serious one of its kind in the area.
Gardai have issued an appeal for anyone with information on the collision to contact Tullamore Garda Station on 057 9327600, or any garda station.
The tragic deaths has brought the toll on Irish roads to eight in the month of May, and 62 so far this year, which is slightly higher than the same period last year.