The girl, named locally as Kellycia Nudiri, suffered catastrophic head injuries after she was ejected from her family’s car as it left the motorway between Adare and Patrickswell around 4.45pm yesterday.
The girl’s twin brother and her parents, who were also travelling in the car, were not seriously injured.
The family, said to be from the Democratic Republic of Congo, had been living in Limerick City but had moved recently to Abbeyfeale, near the Limerick-Kerry border.
The family’s car, driven by the girl’s mother, is understood to have swerved to avoid another car after it had mounted the central reservation barrier. It is believed this vehicle had in turn swerved to avoid another car.
The family’s car “barrel-rolled” a number of times, throwing Kellycia from the car, before it came to a rest on its roof.
Emergency services first responders tried desperately to save the girl’s life, but she was pronounced dead a short time later at University Hospital Limerick.
Three men who were travelling in the other car were taken to hospital but were not seriously injured.
A friend of the family said: “It’s very sad. They are a quiet and respectful family. They could not find accommodation in Limerick City so they moved to Abbeyfeale about six or seven months ago.”
Members of the wider Congolese community have been providing support to the family. A large gathering travelled to Limerick last night and rallied around the family, who were brought to University Hospital Limerick, following the fatal crash.
Abbeyfeale Sinn Féin councillor Seamus Browne said: “I want to pass on my sympathies to the family. It is a terrible tragedy. If we can be of any assistance or supply any supports to them we’ll do that.”
Gardaí at Roxboro Rd in Limerick asked witnesses to contact them on 061 214340.