The 11-year-old cyclist who died following a collision near her home between Ardfert and Abbeydorney in Co Kerry on Monday night has been named locally as Aoibheann Duffy.
She was a fifth class pupil at Ardfert National School.
Prayers were offered for her family this morning at St Brendan’s Church, Ardfert and again at the funeral of a well known Kilmoyley hurler – the late Willie O’Leary.
Fr Pat Crean Lynch, the parish priest of Ardfert, recalled this was the family’s second tragedy in just five months.
Last December Aoibheann’s much-loved niece, Sofia, who would have celebrated her 2nd birthday today, died suddenly, the priest said.
Comforting the more than 20 pupils in the 5th class during a visit to Aoibheann’s school early this morning, Fr Crean Lynch told Aoibheann’s classmates the Lord had called her.
But Aoibheann, so kind and so loving would not be alone, but would be with her little niece, he explained.
“It’s a double whammy to the family. It has cast a shadow over the whole of the area,” he said.
The 11-year-old had been cycling near her home when the collision with a van occurred at approximately 7.30pm.
The young girl was seriously injured in the collision and was taken to University Hospital Kerry (UHK) where she later passed away.
The driver of the van, a man in his 50s, was also taken to UHK for treatment of his injuries.
The road remained closed for much of the day for technical examination of the scene.
Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed this incident to come forward.
Any road users who were travelling near Abbeydorney on the R556, between 7pm and 8pm yesterday evening, and who may have camera footage (including dashcam), is asked to make it available to Gardaí.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Tralee Garda Station on (066) 7102300, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda station.
Local councillor Deirdre Ferris (SF) said the community would come together and support both families and especially the family of Aoibhinn.
School psychological services were called in to help the children in her class deal with the shocking news this and the school was preparing a statement.
Principal of Ardfert NS Betty Stack described her as "an active, outgoing, fun-loving girl who was always smiling."
She said she was also kind, considerate and thoughtful of others.
Ms Stack said that everyone was deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy.
Ardfert NS said Aoibheann will be "greatly missed by everyone at the school."
The school extended its sympathy to Aoibheann's family, friends and neighbours.
Ardfert NS implemented its critical incident management plan with support being offered for students and the school community over the tragedy.
Psychologists from the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) will be working with teachers to help all students and parents.