Sister of ex-minister Noonan killed in horror car crash
Former finance minister Michael Noonan is mourning the loss of his sister Mary, who was among three women killed in a road crash.
Tributes have also been paid to Mary Costello (73) and Mary Bradley (77) who were also killed in the two-car collision.
Mary Griffin (70), a passenger in 78-year-old Ms Noonan's car, was the only survivor.
Ms Bradley was the driver and sole occupant of one of the cars in the crash, which happened at about 6.30pm on Thursday on the N69 just outside Loghill village in west Limerick.
Ms Noonan, who lived in Loghill, was driving her friends Ms Griffin and Ms Costello to the Listowel Writers' Festival in Kerry.
Local parish priest Tomas Crawford said the accident had left the entire community shaken.
Fr Crawford told RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland programme he came across the scene of the accident shortly after it happened.
"All I could do in that kind of scene was pray over them as well as I could," he said.
"It seemed to have been a terrible accident. It was a straight stretch of the road."
Ms Griffin, who was Ms Noonan's back-seat passenger, was last night being treated at University Hospital Limerick. Her injuries are said not to be life-threatening.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and other politicians expressed shock at the accident and offered their sympathies.
Mr Varadkar said the accident was "devastating news".
He said Ms Noonan and her former minister brother "went everywhere together".
"It's going to be very tough on him," said Mr Varadkar.
"The whole Fine Gael family is shocked and full of sorrow."
Limerick-based Senator Maria Byrne offered her "heartfelt sympathies" to the families of the victims. She said she had known Ms Noonan for 40 years.
Ms Noonan was a nurse who previously worked for Aughinish Alumina. Ms Byrne said her friend had been "a very kind and caring person" who was "enjoying her retirement".
"She was so good to an awful lot of people outside of her family circle," she added.
"She had a great interest in books and literature and she was on her way to the writing festival in Listowel when this tragic accident happened."
Ms Byrne said Loghill was a "very tight-knit community and people are just totally in shock".
"They all look out for one another and they're all so helpful to one another out there," she added.
"I think the shock of this horrific accident will be felt for quite a while."