Belfast Telegraph

Irish crash victims Mairead, Margaret and Rachel were returning from dream holiday

A mother among three killed in a horrific car crash had been returning from a "holiday of a lifetime" celebrating her one-year wedding anniversary.

Mairead Mundy (39), her mother Margaret McGonagle (69) and close friend Rachel Battles (37), all from Donegal, were killed in the accident in the early hours of yesterday.

A large group of family and friends had been traveling home to Bruckless in Donegal after a two-week holiday in Turkey, where, it is believed, they were celebrating Mairead's wedding anniversary to husband Padraic Mundy.

The group all live in the same housing area in the small village.

The crash happened shortly before 1am and involved three cars.

It took place on the N2 near Aclint Bridge, a few kilometres north of the town of Ardee in Co Louth.

The family group had been travelling together in two of the three vehicles.

The three women had all been making the journey home in the same car, along with Ms Battles's six-year-old daughter, who is currently being treated at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin.

Her injuries are believed to be minor and she is expected to make a full recovery.

Two men injured in the collision are also in hospital, and their injuries are not life-threatening.

Garda Superintendent Fergus Traynor of Ardee Garda station said: "An ambulance that was travelling on the road came upon the accident and they were able to assist at the scene. An off-duty garda was also among the first people at the scene."

He said a number of fire brigade crews and ambulance crews went to the scene.

"The road was wet, but it wasn't raining at the time of the accident. Later, weather conditions deteriorated horrendously," he added.

The accident was described as a tragedy by former Donegal County councillor John Boyle.

"I'm dumbfounded, everyone knows them around here, everyone knows everyone around here, it's really sad," he said.

"It hasn't sunk in at all yet. This is a horrendous tragedy.

"They were all very, very good people, you couldn't get better," he added.

Mrs Mundy has a young son from a previous relationship.

The boy, who recently made his Confirmation, is now tragically without both parents, as his father passed away a number of years ago. Parish priest Fr James Sweeney said he had not seen a tragedy like this in more than 30 years.

"People are still numb and I don't think people know how to feel, they're still in shock, they've never had a tragedy like this before," he said.

"Never in my 32 years, (there were) often tragedies of course, but not to multiples of three," he added.

Fr Sweeney said there hadn't been a funeral in the area in nine months, with three to come in the coming days.

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