Eight men have been killed in a tragic road accident involving two cars on the Buncrana to Clonmany Road, near Buncrana in County Donegal at 10.40pm on Sunday night.
The police reported that there were seven people crammed into the black Volkswagen Passat. All seven passengers were killed.
The other victim was Hugh Friel, a 66-year-old unmarried man from Dunaff, Clonmany. He was returning home after an evening at bingo in Buncrana when his red Toyota Corolla was hit by the Volkswagen.
The black Volkswagen crashed into another car before ploughing into the third car killing all eight victims.
All of the dead are from the Inishowen area including Dunaff, Clonmany, Ballyliffin and Bruncrana.
John Ryan, a local councilor said he knew most of the families affected by the crash. He also said that his thoughts were with their families and friends at this time but also will the paramedics and police from this rural community who had to deal with the site crash. They too would have known the victims and their families.
He said “Inishowen has had its fair degree of tragedies over the years but I don't think I've ever come across anything of this magnitude or this level of carnage. It's unbelievable…There's a feeling of absolute dismay. I don't think it has settled in at this stage.”
Father Rafal Januszewski, a local Polish priest celebrated Mass at St Mary’s in Buncrana today. He had spent time comforting the families and friends in hospital last night.
He said “Many, many people were there inside – there were maybe 20 people in the corridor but they were very quiet. Nobody was talking but some people were crying.”
“They were distraught. We were talking about this tragedy and offering words of comfort to help to give them peace.”
Father Eddie McGuinness, Curate at St Mary’s Cockhill Church in Buncrana, said “We are human beings and I know I will shed my own tears.”
Michael Grant, a Buncrana concillor, was driving home from a family engagement when he came across the crash site.
He said “When I came up to that I saw a few cars stopped and blue lights flashing. My wife is a nurse but at that stage the ambulance and the guards were there…I felt shocked and horrified, I can only imagine how the families feel this morning…I went to school with a couple of the fathers of the victims.”
This tragic news comes just weeks after Ireland had announced that its road safety had improved. It is now ranked seventh out of 27 in the EU.
However the area of Inishowen is no stranger to multiple deaths in road accidents. In 2005 five local people were killed in a crash involving a drunk driver. In 2006 five Eastern Europeans were killed in two-car crash.