‘Feeling of devastation’ at death of brothers

“PEOPLE are nearly all prayed out, nearly all cried out. It’s just one tragedy after another.”

That was the comment from one woman yesterday as a town tried to come to grips with the deaths of two young brothers.

2005 hasn’t been a good year for Midleton in Co Cork, and yesterday the sense of despair gripped its townsfolk even more.

No sooner were prayers said for car crash victims Paul and David Kirby, than news came in that 20-year-old student Wayne O’Donoghue had been charged with the murder of his 11-year-old neighbour, Robert Holohan.

In the quiet Avoncore estate, where the Kirby family lives, mothers with pained expressions gathered to comfort each other.

“They (Paul and David) were always together and God help us they went together,” Eileen O’Brien said.

“They were known as the twins, even though they weren’t,” said her friend Ann Griffin.

Ann O’Callaghan said it was just one tragedy after another in the town.

The popular brothers, 20-year-old Paul and 18-year-old David, lost their lives in a two-car head-on collision a couple of miles from their home on Wednesday evening.

The Honda Civic they were driving was in collision with a Toyota Avensis, driven by a man in his late 40s, who suffered serious chest injuries. Gardaí are appealing for witnesses to contact them.

Floral tributes yesterday marked the spot where the Kirby brothers died - 1.5 miles west of Ballinacurra on the main Cloyne road.

Firefighters had to cut their bodies from the wreckage and they were pronounced dead at the scene by a local doctor.

For their 25-year-old brother Christopher, it represented not only the loss of his siblings, but his best friends.

Neighbours said the Kirbys were a close family.

“Even though I was older they were my best friends. We hung out together and did everything,” Christopher said.

He explained they were driving from their grandmother’s home when the accident happened.

“It’s just a short distance from there, not even a minute’s drive,” he said.

His distraught mother, Kathleen, was being comforted by family and friends.

The two construction workers went to school at St Colman’s Community College. Principal Tom Hughes said they were well-respected.

“The feeling is of devastation, of absolute sadness, for the family, and in particular their mother Kathleen. It certainly represents an enormous amount for a community of this size to digest at one time,” Mr Hughes said.

Local priest Fr Eamon Kelleher, who administered the last rites to Paul and David, said it was an absolute tragedy and everybody’s prayers were with the family.

The Kirbys’ neighbour, Theresa Banks, saw the brothers growing up.

“They were very close. The family was very close. Kathleen is lovely,” she said. “Midleton is getting an awful doing,” she added.

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