Mother and daughter dead following horror crash
Two people are dead following a serious collision on the R667 Fermoy to Ballyduff Road in Co Cork, which occurred at around 11:20am this morning.
Initial reports indicated that the two occupants of the car were women returning from a shopping trip, and were only a short distance from their home.
It is believed that they are mother and daughter, aged 58 and 22.
The tragic pair have been named locally as Geraldine Clancy and her daughter Louise.
Parish priest Father Donal Leahy said the family were in shock following the news this evening.
"It is a great shock," he told RTE Radio One's Drivetime.
"I arrived at the scene and I knew the names mentioned, at least I was ready then for the family.
"I met the husband there, it was just a great shock.
"The husband is a farmer locally, I would have been in their house a number of times. It really is a shock.
"I still am shocked.
"I just came back from their house now again to make arrangements over Christmas which is never easy.
"But we're getting there."
Fr Leahy explained how the mother and daughter had only left the house a couple of minutes before the tragedy occurred.
"It's not that particularly [dangerous a road].
"The spot is I'd say less than a mile from their house.
"They had just left the family home to go to Fermoy, they would have been gone maybe two minutes, three minutes from the house," he continued.
"The person [in the second car] is also known to me. It is a community traumatised is what it is, it is very sad.
"I know them all, all these people very well.
"They were involved in various ways in the community."
Fr Leahy said the daughter (22) has two siblings. She had just returned from England where she was studying for Christmas.
"The community are really rallying around," he said.
"We know with these situations, the people who come they can't say anything.
"What can they say? Our presence is the only thing that can comfort them, we are there with them silently, but we're there."
It appears that one of the vehicles, after the collision, spun out of control and ploughed through a ditch and into the adjacent River Blackwater.
Gardai worked with emergency crews this afternoon to access the vehicle, which sank in the flooded waters.
Emergency services were alerted at around 11.40am.
The driver of the other car escaped without serious injuries.
The road was closed and extra Gardai were dispatched to the area from the north Cork division.
The Fermoy-Ballyduff road has since reopened at the junction with the local Kilworth road.
Motorists have been warned to avoid the area.
Heavy lifting equipment was brought to the scene to assist with the recovery of the vehicle.
Paramedics were on standby at the scene but no-one was able to escape the vehicle before it sank.