Four men were killed in a spate of crashes within hours of each other early yesterday.
The road deaths also happened hours after road safety chiefs revealed road deaths are up 8% on this time last year.
Two young men, suspected of breaking into a bar, died when the vehicle they were travelling in collided head-on with a van outside Letterkenny in Co Donegal at about 4.45am yesterday. They had been driving on the wrong side of the main Letterkenny to Derry dual carriageway.
A cash register was found in the back seat of the car.
Earlier, there had been a burglary at Rosie’s bar in the nearby village of Drumkeen. It had occurred just minutes before the crash.
The men were named locally as Barney McGinley and Dermot Boyle, who were in their late teens and early 20s.
Investigating gardaí have appealed for witnesses.
The men died when their grey Mitsubishi Charisma car struck a yellow Renault Master van.
The driver of the van, a 40-year-old man, who was seriously injured, was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Letterkenny.
It is understood that the young men panicked when a Garda patrol made a U-turn after passing them but did not follow them.
There were also reports the men may have been spotted by another Garda car moments later but were not pursued.
The matter has been referred to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission. GSOC becomes involved when it appears that Garda conduct may have resulted in death or serious harm.
GSOC confirmed it received reports that there had been some interaction between gardaí and the vehicle before the collision occurred.
Meanwhile, a 42-year-old man died in a two-car collision at Castlefarm, near Dunboyne, Co Meath.
The sole occupant of the car, he was seriously injured in the head-on crash that occurred around 8.50pm on Tuesday night.
He was taken to Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, Dublin, where he was later pronounced dead.
The driver and four passengers in the second car were also taken to hospital but their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
In another road traffic accident, a man in his 20s was killed near Baltracey, Donadea, Co Kildare.
The car he was driving collided with a truck on the Clane to Kilcock road, near Baltracey at around 11.30pm on Tuesday night.
The man, the sole occupant, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the truck was taken to Blanchardstown Hospital with what were described as minor injuries.
More than 100 people have died on Irish roads since January. The Road Safety Authority wants the Government to increase the number of gardaí in the traffic corps to reduce the number of road deaths.
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