A Sunday family walk has turned to tragedy when two young sisters were knocked down and killed in Co Galway.
Two-year-old Kate Gilmore and her baby sister Grace, aged just two months, were with their father John on the outskirts of the town of Tuam when they were all struck by a car at lunchtime. They were on the hard shoulder of the busy N17 when the vehicle came off the road and ploughed into them.
The girls were taken to University College Hospital in Galway where they were later pronounced dead.
Their father and the man who was driving the car, its sole occupant, were also taken to the hospital. The men's injuries were described as not life threatening.
The girls were the only children of construction engineer Mr Gilmore and his wife Michelle, who works for the Health Service Executive. Both parents are from the Tuam area.
The crash happened on the Milltown Road section of the N17, near to the turn off for Dunmore, which is a popular stretch for walkers and joggers.
Local councillor and former mayor of Galway County Tom McHugh knows the family. "This is a terrible tragedy for our community and everyone is in a deep state of shock," said the Fine Gael representative. "The thoughts of everyone are with the family."
Fianna Fail councillor Michael Connolly said the incident was an "absolute tragedy". He said: "It's a tragedy for the family and a tragedy for the whole community in the Tuam area."
"Words cannot describe the loss this family has suffered. A father brings his family out for a walk on a Sunday and this happens - could anything be worse than that."
Gardai appealed for witnesses to the incident to contact Tuam Garda Station on 093-70840 or the Garda Confidential Telephone Line 1800 666 111.