The Bishop of Cork and Ross has led prayers and tributes tonight to the two victims of Tuesday’s freak bus tragedy in Cork Harbour.
Bishop Fintan Gavin said he learned with “utter shock and sadness” earlier that Fr Con Cronin, a curate in the Harbour Parishes of Passage West and Monkstown, was killed in the collision.
Fr Cronin, who was originally from the Borlin Valley area of Bantry, was struck by a Bus Éireann bus as he walked along the Strand Road just outside Monkstown at about 1.40pm. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the bus was also pronounced dead at the scene.
Gardaí say they are following a line of inquiry that indicates the driver of the single-decker bus on route 216, a man in his 50s with an address in the western suburbs of Cork city, suffered a medical trauma and lost control of the vehicle before it struck Fr Cronin and hit several parked cars.
Bus Éireann described the driver as being "a long-standing and greatly valued employee" based at the Capwell depot in Cork city, but his name has not yet been officially released.
Bishop Gavin said: “Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go to Fr Con’s family, his wide circle of friends, parishioners and his fellow priests in the St Patrick’s Missionary Society, Kiltegan, as well as the priests of the Diocese of Cork and Ross.
“This tragic accident also leaves another family mourning the loss of a loved one and I extend my prayerful support to his family also.”
He said Fr Cronin, who served in the Harbour Parishes since 2012, established “a warm rapport both pastorally and personally with all to whom he ministered and all who had contact with him”.
“He will be remembered fondly for his unique sense of humour and his openness to all people,” he said.
“He died on the day when the Gospel reminds us what happened the day Jesus asked Peter to step out of the boat and come to him across the water.
"Jesus called out to him, saying, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid’.”
Fr Cronin was ordained in 1979 and ministered in Africa with the Kiltegan Fathers for 25 years before returning to Ireland in 2004 where, after promoting the missionary work of the church, he settled into parish life in Cork.
His love for his native place and its people – the Borlin Valley in Bantry Parish – has never wavered, Bishop Gavin said.
Fr Cronin went viral in 2019 when he danced the Fortnite-inspired floss dance on the altar after a communion ceremony.
And he also featured inTV documentary, screened on RTÉ last year, where he spoke of his love of his own parish but admitted he was afraid to wear his clerical collar elsewhere for fear of being attacked.
Bishop Gavin said: “All who know Fr Con are grateful for having known him and our diocese is blessed that he ministered among us. We commend both men to the Lord and pray God’s comfort and consolation for all those who are in mourning.”
He also said he wanted to pray for “healing and peace” for all who were injured and those who witnessed the accident, and added: “I wish to acknowledge the professionalism and kindness of the emergency services who attended the accident scene.”
Gardaí in Togher who are investigating the incident have appealed to any witnesses to the collision, and to any road users who were travelling on the Strand Road between 1.15pm and 1.45pm on Tuesday afternoon, and who may have camera footage, including dash cam footage, to contact them at 021-494 7120.