School 'devastated' over deaths of young men in Donegal crash

School 'devastated' over deaths of young men in Donegal crash
Left to right) Michael Roarty, John Hanley, Daniel Scott and Shaun Harkin.

Update 6.05pm: Communities in West Donegal are coming to terms with a car crash that has claimed the lives of four friends, in their early 20s.

They have been named as John Harley, Michéal Roarty, Sean Harkin, and Daniel Scott.

All four were declared dead at the scene after their car crashed on a local road near Gortahork.

Gardaí are appealing for witnesses who may have seen the silver coloured 01 Toyota Corolla at any time before the crash.

Maeve Sweeney, principal at PCC Falcarragh where three of the men went to school, said: "As you can imagine our school is 460 students and it's always very busy, it's a noisy school.

"This morning there was a very sombre silence across the school, students were just devastated and a lot of them had connections with them, so it was a very quiet school this morning."

Earlier: One of four young men killed in Donegal crash was due to emigrate in weeks, reports

The four young men who died in last night’s traffic accident in west Donegal have been named locally.

Mícheál Roarty (24) from Dunlewey, John Harley (24) from Falcarragh, Sean Harkin (22) from Falcarragh and Daniel Scott, from Gortahork, also in his 20s, all friends, were killed instantly when the car in which they had been travelling went off the road just before 9pm last night.

The four friends were all travelling in a Toyota Corolla, which crashed at Gleannhulaigh near Magheraroarty.

Emergency services attended the scene, but all four men were pronounced dead a short time later.

Picture: North West Newspix
Picture: North West Newspix

”It was a tragic scene,” Superintendent David Kelly said.

“Family members arrived and so there was good work done by all the emergency services in difficult conditions.”

The scene of the crash remains sealed off as Garda collision investigators begin the painstaking task of piecing together how the crash may have happened.

Tributes have been pouring in since the tragedy occurred.

The Mayor of Donegal, Falcarragh-based Councillor Seamus Ó Domhnaill, said: “It’s devastating for four young lives to be taken so quickly and so tragically. It will leave an awful dark, black cloud over West Donegal and one that won't go away too easily.”

Update 12pm: Gardaí have made an appeal for witnesses to the crash in Donegal which claimed the lives of four men.

The four men were on their way home from a night out when the car they were in crashed near Magheraroarty in Gortahork just before 9pm.

It is believed one of the men was planning to move to Australia in two weeks.

Picture: North West Newspix
Picture: North West Newspix

Gardaí are continuing their investigations and Superintendent David Kelly has appealed for witnesses.

He said: "If anybody saw that silver Toyota Corolla, 01-DL, travelling in the direction of Magheraroarty to Gweedore yesterday evening prior to 8.40pm - or indeed earlier in the day - would they please contact gardaí at Milford Garda Station"

Update 10.40am: 'It was the stuff of nightmares' says priest who assisted at scene of Donegal crash

By Vivienne Clarke

Gweedore priest Fr Brian O’Fearraigh who assisted at the scene of last night’s accident that claimed the lives of four young men said that it was “really the stuff of nightmares.

“It makes no earthly sense whatever,” he told RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show.

Fr O’Fearraigh said he received a telephone call at 9pm asking him to go to the scene. When he reached the brow of the hill and saw the flashing blue emergency lights “I knew that down in the valley tragedy had struck.”

On arrival he was told that it was a terrible tragedy. “All I could do was say a few prayers.”

He stayed at the scene as family members arrived. “When they arrived all I could do was embrace them. At a time like that words fall silent.”

It was a tragedy that two communities were now plunged into the depths of grief with the deaths of the four young men.

Nothing could prepare a priest or emergency services for what they witnessed last night, he added.

“Nothing can prepare you for this. It is people’s worst nightmare.”

Fr O’Fearraigh paid tribute to the gardaí, emergency services and first responders for their commitment and professionalism in very difficult circumstances.

Update 9.20am: 'Their loss will be felt right across the community': Four young men die in Donegal crash

By Vivienne Clarke

The Parish Priest of Gortahork, Donegal has been describing the shock and sadness of the community at news of the death of four young men in a road accident on Sunday night.

Fr Seán Ó Gallchóir told RTE’s Morning Ireland that two of the young men had come from his parish of Gortahurk, while the other two were from the neighbouring parishes of Falcarragh and Gweedore.

People in the area are “saddened, stunned, in total disbelief and totally numb,” he said.

School 'devastated' over deaths of young men in Donegal crash

“Their loss will be felt right across the community of the three parishes.”

All of the young men were well known with one of them playing Gaelic football and soccer on local teams.

Last night he visited the parents of his two parishioners.

“The two boys were in the same class in primary school and in community school. They grew up together, they were friends all their lives.”

Fr Ó Gallchóir said everyone was devastated, in shock and experiencing great grief. “It is beyond belief.”

He said that communities, especially rural communities always rally and will do everything to support the families.

All four were well known and came from well-known families, he added.

“For the parents there will be a void now for all of their lives.

“It is just unexplainable, people are bewildered by the whole thing..

“It is so hard for all of us that such a tragedy could happen.”

Earlier: 'These will be very difficult days': Four young men dead in single-vehicle crash in Donegal

A crash in Co Donegal has claimed the lives of four young men.

Gardaí and emergency services were called to the scene of the single-vehicle crash on a local road near Magheraroarty in Gortahork just before 9pm last night.

School 'devastated' over deaths of young men in Donegal crash

All four men in the car, believed to be in their 20s, died at the scene.

It has been preserved for a technical examination and the road remains closed this morning with local diversions in place.

It is not known at this stage how the crash happened and investigations are ongoing.

A Garda source said last night: "It's a devastating scene. All four lads are from the locality and would be well-known in the area."

The scene of the crash is close to where a number of other fatal accidents have taken place over the years.

Any witnesses are being asked to contact Milford Garda Station or the Garda Confidential Line.

Sinn Féin TD for Donegal, Pearse Doherty, said there was a "cloud of sadness over the area."

"Devastating news from Gaoth Dobhair tonight. A cloud of sadness over the area. Thoughts and prayers are with those involved and their families," he said on social media.

"It's absolutely heartbreaking. There is a cloud of sadness right over this area," Mr Doherty told Highland Radio.

"People were numbed when they started to hear the news yesterday, that there was an accident that had fatalities and then hear that four young people in their early 20s, their lives have been snatched away.

"There are words that fail us at this point and time. We can only think about their families and their friends and try and be there and support them as a community in the times ahead.

"These will be very difficult days for those closet to the victims of this accident and for the entire community

"There are very few people that wouldn't know either these lads or their friends or neighbours and families.

"It's a huge loss to all of us."

Donegal has seen several major tragedies on the roads in recent years.

In July 2010, eight men died near Buncrana after a vehicle left the road and the driver was later prosecuted.

Last year, two people were killed and three injured in a crash in Bundoran.

The vehicle they were travelling in hit a wall.

More on this topic

'Respected and loved by all': Tributes paid to councillor Manus Kelly after Donegal Rally crash'Respected and loved by all': Tributes paid to councillor Manus Kelly after Donegal Rally crash

'Tears and shock and disbelief': Friends travel from Australia and Canada for Donegal crash funeral'Tears and shock and disbelief': Friends travel from Australia and Canada for Donegal crash funeral

Funeral details announced for tragic Donegal quartet who died in crashFuneral details announced for tragic Donegal quartet who died in crash

‘The stuff of nightmares’: Tragic Donegal quartet were on farewell night out‘The stuff of nightmares’: Tragic Donegal quartet were on farewell night out


More in this Section

Pair held on charges connected to killingPair held on charges connected to killing

Varadkar condemns ‘cowardly and brutal’ attack on Quinn executive Kevin Lunney Varadkar condemns ‘cowardly and brutal’ attack on Quinn executive Kevin Lunney

From dust to dustbin ... Urn containing human ashes found at Navan recycling centreFrom dust to dustbin ... Urn containing human ashes found at Navan recycling centre

'Irish citizenship through birth or descent' the most visited document on Citizens Information website'Irish citizenship through birth or descent' the most visited document on Citizens Information website


Lifestyle

Audrey's been sorting out Cork people for ages.Ask Audrey: C’mere, what’s the story with Chris O’Dowd thinking he’s better than Cork people

So, I put a link to a short story up for my students the other day. The story was by Michael Morpurgo and I was delighted to find an online copy. It can be challenging when you are relying on non-paper texts to teach.Secret diary of an Irish teacher: I love physical books and always will

Celebrated actress Siobhán McSweeney may have found fame starring in a TV series set at the other end of the country, but Cork is never far from her thoughts, writes Ciara McDonnellHome is where the art is for Derry Girls actress

There are literally hundreds of free events on offer this evening for kids and adults on Culture Night. Marjorie Brennan selects the best of them, in Cork and beyondCulture Night: Get out and make the most of it

More From The Irish Examiner