Ireland crash: Four young people killed in Co Tipperary are named by police

Four young people who died in a road crash in Co Tipperary while on the way to exam celebrations have been named by Irish police.

Driver Luke McSweeney, 24, and three passengers, including his 18-year-old sister Grace McSweeney, and teenagers Zoey Coffey and Nicole Murphy, also both 18, were killed after the car they were in struck a wall on Friday.

The crash happened close to the entrance of Hillview Sports Club in Mountain Road in the town of Clonmel at around 7.30pm.

The victims are thought to have been on their way to mark receiving the results of their Leaving Certificate exams.

Drivers made the sign of the cross as they travel past the crash scene, Ireland correspondent Stephen Murphy said.

He described the "mangled car lying on its roof" surrounded by "Garda vans and investigators".

"The violence of the impact that turned a night of celebration to the deepest despair is evident," he added.

A vigil is being held for the victims in Clonmel at 6.30pm on Sunday, with a book of condolences to be opened at the local council offices from 11am on Monday.

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Michael O'Loughlin, principal of Presentation Secondary School in Clonmel, described his "beautiful" students Zoey Coffey and Grace McSweeney, who were "loved by everybody who met them".

"Grace was a gentle and kind person. She was thoughtful, considerate, and hard working. Grace was a gifted gymnast and a dancer and a very good student who had a positive impact on everybody she encountered," he said.

"Zoey's personality was warm and vibrant. She was funny, kind and really determined. Zoey was a diligent worker and was very popular with her peers and teachers, and was central to all aspects of school life in the Pres."

Anne McGrath, principal of Loreto Secondary School, said that her student Nicole Murphy had received "excellent" Leaving Certificate results on Friday.

"Nicole was a beautiful student, highly regarded by staff and students alike. During her time in Loreto, she developed into a young woman who was kind, gentle and witty, and she was a trusted and loyal friend," she said.

"Yesterday's celebrations are now replaced by unbearable grief and a sense of loss for the whole local community. No words can express our sorrow, pain and grief."

A critical incident plan is being worked on by the three schools affected.

Local priest Father Toomey, who spent time with the newly bereaved families overnight, said: "Sometimes no words seem adequate when a tragedy like what occurred in Clonmel tonight happens. No words can give comfort at this time."

Fr Toomey also urged people to be respectful amid anger over people sharing images of the crash site on social media.

A drone was also flown over the scene, with many angry at media outlets who chose to broadcast the footage, Murphy said.

Superintendent Kieran Ruane, from Clonmel Garda Station, expressed his "condolences and sympathies" in a statement made on Saturday.

"Our local communities, in particular Clonmel, Kilsheelan and Ballypatrick are shocked and deeply saddened by these events," he said.

"I want to assure them that An Garda Síochána is here over the coming days, weeks and months to support our communities as we all come to terms with this tragedy.

"I have been in contact with the principals of the local secondary schools that the girls attended and supports are being put in place for the friends of all four deceased today and over the next few days."

Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar described their deaths in a statement as "truly devastating and heartbreaking".

"It is with deep sadness that I learned of the tragic incident in Clonmel last night," he said.

"Leaving Cert results night should mark the beginning of a world of opportunities for young people. It's a milestone on the road from childhood to adulthood. For young lives, so full of possibility, to be cut short in this way is truly devastating and heartbreaking. The whole nation mourns them.

"My sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who have died and the wider community in Clonmel and Tipperary. The thoughts of the whole country are with them, their school and their community.

"I am assured that the school authorities and (the health service) will work together to put in place the necessary supports for their classmates and community. We must come together in times such as this."

Mr Varadkar then said in Irish: "May their souls be at God's right hand."

Higher education minister Simon Harris TD said there was "grief, shock and sadness" after the "devastating" and "heartbreaking" incident.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, he wrote: "Leaving Cert results day represents achievement, celebration and excitement.

"Tonight that has been replaced by grief, shock and sadness... There are no words. Heartbreaking."