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Woman killed in collision had just taken call about sick one-day-old daughter

Published 06/09/2016

Nicola Kenny was killed in a road accident
Nicola Kenny was killed in a road accident

A woman killed in a road accident had just taken a phone call from hospital about her one-day-old sick baby daughter when she died.

Nicola Kenny, from Thurles, Co Tipperary, was in a car with her mother Ann and her aunt Irene Whelan on the hard shoulder of the M8 motorway on Monday afternoon when a lorry collided with them.

The 26-year-old had given birth to Lily Rose on Sunday morning at about 2am and was being driven to Temple Street Hospital in Dublin after the baby had been transferred hours after being born.

Ms Kenny was in the back of the car when it was struck from behind by a truck a few miles south of Cashel.

It is understood the new mother had just been told that Lily Rose's condition had improved and she was being returned to South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel.

The family were in the process of deciding whether to return straight home or to go to the hospital to wait for the baby's return.

A family spokesman said: "You can't imagine this, the family are devastated. They are in shock.

"They pulled in on to the hard shoulder and took that phone call.

"The hospital told her the child was OK and that they were going to transfer her back. They were making the decision to turn back.

"The set of coincidences is just unbelievable."

Ms Kenny's family, including her father Patrick and brother, also Patrick, have asked for people who wish to make donations to give money to the Clonmel Hospital Baby Unit.

The relative paid a glowing tribute to Ms Kenny.

"Nicola was well loved. A bubbly character, a great young girl. You couldn't say anything bad about her. Any time you met her she had a smile on her face, everyday," he said.

"She was a gas young one as they say."

Her mother Ann, who was in the front passenger seat, suffered a broken arm and other injuries in the collision but was discharged from hospital to be with her husband and son.

Ms Whelan was driving. She is understood to be in intensive care at University Hospital Limerick but her injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Lily Rose was transferred by ambulance to Temple Street on Sunday evening as doctors were concerned for her health but it is understood her condition stabilised overnight and into Monday morning prompting the phone call to Ms Kenny urging her not to travel to Dublin.

Thurles was thronged with thousands of people on Monday evening celebrating Tipperary All-Ireland hurling success as news of the tragedy spread.

Ms Kenny's family home in Kennedy Park, where she lived with her mother and father, is only a few streets away from where the victorious team homecoming was held in Semple Stadium.

Ms Kenny was well known through her job in the Tesco store in Thurles and had a wide circle of friends. She was also a godmother.

Her funeral will take place on Thursday at the Cathedral of the Assumption in the town followed by burial at St Patrick's Cemetery.

Local priests spent the day liaising with the family.

Fr Martin Hayes said prayers and sympathies were being offered to relatives and friends and appealed for them to be given privacy to grieve.

Linzi Cleary, who had been friends with Ms Kenny all her life, posted a photo of them as toddlers and a message on social media.

"What can I say sister I don't know how I can live without you. I love you so so much babygirl. I hope your wings are as big as your perfect personality. The last 26 years nobody can even come close I love you sis. I love you so much," she said.

Elsewhere, a woman in her 30s was killed following a collision with a truck while cycling in Dublin.

Gardai said the accident happened on Seville Place at about 10.55am.

The truck driver was taken to Beaumont Hospital as a precaution.

The road death toll for the year is 125.

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From Belfast Telegraph