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Tributes to 'special person' as cafe owner (35) is killed by her own car in tragedy

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Cafe owner Fiona Whelan was described as 'a very special person'

Cafe owner Fiona Whelan was described as 'a very special person'

Cafe owner Fiona Whelan was described as 'a very special person'

A well-loved and respected cafe owner was killed by her own car when it rolled forward in her driveway.

Fiona Whelan (35) was pronounced dead at the scene of the tragic accident outside her Hacketstown home in Co Carlow at around 3.20pm on Saturday.

It is understood her car, which had been switched off, inexplicably rolled as she stood beside it, inflicting fatal injuries. The incident is being treated as a "tragic accident".

Ms Whelan's body was taken to Waterford Regional Hospital where a full post-mortem examination will be carried out.

Special

The vehicle has been removed for a technical examination.

Ms Whelan, of Rathnagrew, ran the popular Perch Cafe in Baltinglass, Co Wicklow.

Local newsletter Baltinglass Matters posted a special tribute and described her as a "very special person" who was "known, respected and appreciated by people in the area.

"The unexpected loss of such a vibrant young woman has left us stunned."

Ms Whelan packed a full career in hospitality and catering into her short life.

She started work at the age of just 16 in Germaine's cafe in Baltinglass and later spent some years with Bia Blasta.

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The Perch Cafe in Baltinglass, Co Wicklow

The Perch Cafe in Baltinglass, Co Wicklow

The Perch Cafe in Baltinglass, Co Wicklow

Once she got the opportunity to run her own business, she took out a short lease on D'Lish in Tinahely.

After that she returned to Baltinglass to manage The Perch Cafe.

"She was an excellent businesswoman with a positive attitude towards enhancing the community in general," the newsletter said.

"Far from seeing other catering outlets as competition, she believed mutual support benefited all."

On March 15, Ms Whelan held a meeting with her staff and they jointly agreed that The Perch should close during the coronavirus pandemic for the well-being of all.

Hacketstown Community Group, Knockananna GAA and Rathdangan Community Council also expressed their shock at her passing.

Numb

"The surrounding community were left saddened and numb upon hearing of the untimely passing of Fiona Whelan."

She is survived by partner Michael Byrne, parents Mary and Jimmy, brother Declan, sister Siobhan and extended family.