A COUPLE were among three young people killed in a horror crash on New Year's Eve.

Tragic Saoirse Corrigan and her partner Shane Gilchrist, both in their 20s, were killed in a two-car smash in Kells, Co Meath.



A woman in her mid-20s, who was driving the second car, was rushed to hospital with serious injures after the head-on collision on the N52 beside the M3 motorway, but was later pronounced dead.

Three children who were travelling in the second car – two baby girls and a 12-year-old boy – were also taken to hospital.

The boy last night remained in a serious condition, while the girls' injuries were described as not life-threatening.

The triple-fatality brings to 12 the number of people killed on Irish roads so far this week.

The Irish Sun can reveal Saoirse had recently started her dream job as a teacher, with the couple both from the Castlepollard area of Co Westmeath.

Her heartbroken family told of their agony in a death notice.

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They said: "The death has occurred, on Friday 31st December, of Saoirse Corrigan, Whitehall, Castlepollard, tragically, following an accident.

"Pre-deceased by her grandfather Michael. Deeply regretted by her loving mother Orlene, loving father Michael, Andy, Keri, brothers Cathal and Cillian, sisters Brónagh and Gráinne, grandparents Michael-John, Josephine and Beatrice, uncles, aunts, extended family, all the staff and students at St. Clare's College, Ballyjamesduff and a wide circle of friends.

"May Saoirse's gentle soul Rest in Peace."

Shane's death notice said: "The death has occurred on the 31st December of Shane Gilchrist, Castlepollard, tragically following an accident.

"Pre-deceased by his brother Joey. Deeply regretted by his loving mother Trisha, loving father David, brothers Luke, Bryan, Peter, sister Emma. Grandparents Johnny, Maureen, George and Imelda, uncles, aunts, extended family, the hurling community and a wide circle of friends."

Tributes flooded in for Saoirse and her boyfriend Shane.

One of Saoirse's friends said: "I’m genuinely still speechless and in shock that you are no longer here. I genuinely don’t want to bring myself to believe it.

"Saoirse you were such a kind hearted caring beautiful soul god had no right to take you from family and friends you were too young.

"I won’t forget our conversation or memories or how sweet you were bringing me sweets to my hotel room Christmas in pollard and making my night by making me laugh so much.

"I hope you get the best bed up there but truly you should be still dancing with us here. You won’t be forgotten so much love Saoirse till we meet again."

'FLY HIGH WITH THE ANGELS'

Another pal described Saoirse as "the most kind hearted soul to walk this earth".

They said: "From the first day you walked into my salon the bond we grew. I would of never thought the last day you walked out of the salon would of been the last time to speak to you watch over your parents, your beautiful sisters and brother.

"Until we meet again. Fly high with the angels."

Another added: "You really are such a lovely girl always smiling and laughing god always takes the best And it’s the truest words I’ve ever heard there gonna be so many broken hearts you really did bring a good light to people life rest easy Saoirse, fly high."

Castlepollard Cllr Frank McDermott told the Irish Sun the area was "absolutely floored" with the loss of Saoirse and Shane.

Frank told us: "The place is very much in shock. The community and the parish is devastated.

"Both Saoirse and Shane are from Castlepollard.

"Two gorgeous young people just taken from us. There are no words."

COMMUNITY ROCKED

Locals told how Saoirse and Shane were from two sporting families.

Ringtown GAA in Co Westmeath said: "We are all in shock and devastated  with the tragic death of our beautiful friend and club member Saoirse.

"We remember especially all her family members and her partner Shane who also sadly died in the accident RIP.

"As a mark of Respect Ringtown lotto is cancelled for 2 weeks at least.  May their gentle souls rest in peace.  Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha."

North Westmeath Athletic Club said: "All at the club would like to express our deepest sympathises to our club members Jody Murray and Cherice Corrigan on the passing of Shane Gilchrist and to the Corrigan family on the passing of Saoirse Corrigan.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with family, extended family and friends at this terrible and shocking time.

"May they both rest in eternal peace."

The vehicles are understood to have collided head on on the N52, just off the M3, at around 4.45pm on New Year's Eve.

Saoirse, who was the driver of one of the cars, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Passenger Shane was treated at the scene but died en route to Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, Dublin.

'AWFUL TRAGEDY'

The driver of the other car, a woman in her 20s, was also brought to Connolly Hospital, where she later died.

The passengers in her car, two girls and a boy, were brought to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.

The boy has since been transferred to Temple Street Children’s Hospital.

Forensic collision investigators completed a technical examination of the scene and the road has since reopened.

Sean Drew, Cathaoirleach of Meath County Council, told the Irish Sun of the shock and devastation in the area.

The Kells-based Cllr said: "It's an awful tragedy to see the deaths of three young people.

"The thoughts and prayers of everyone here locally are with those who have passed away and their families that are waking up to this dreadful news.

"There have been so many fatalities on our roads over the Christmas period, it has been a dark period.

"And the year had seemed to be going relatively well, comparative wise, on the number of deaths on the roads during the year.

"But certainly the month of December has been a real tragedy with the number of deaths on the roads.

"Our heartfelt sympathies go out to those who have passed and their relatives and friends."

GARDA APPEAL

Gardai have launched an appeal for information with witnesses and drivers with dash-cam footage who were in the area asked to come forward.

A garda spokesman said: "Kells Gardaí are investigating a 2 car fatal traffic collision on the N52, Lloyds, Kells, Co.Meath which occurred 31/12/2021 shortly after 4pm. Any person travelling in the area or with any information or dashcam footage is asked to contact Gardaí at Kells at 046 9280820.

"3 persons (2 female and 1 male all in their 20s were deceased), 3 children were taken to hospital for treatment. Gardaí have completed a forensic examination of the scene, investigations are ongoing."

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