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galway tragedy Infant was among four killed in horror Galway three-vehicle collision

Locals at crash site tell how loud bang could be heard at time of crash last night

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The scene of the fatal crash on the M6 (Photo: Press 22)

The scene of the fatal crash on the M6 (Photo: Press 22)

The scene of the fatal crash on the M6 (Photo: Press 22)

An infant was among the four killed in a horror three-vehicle collision near Ballinasloe, Co Galway last night. 

All four people were pronounced dead at the scene and their bodies were removed to Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, for post-mortems to be conducted at a later date.

The incident happened at 7.40pm on the westbound approach to Ballinasloe, between junction 14 and junction 15 exits of the M6 motorway.

One person was also hospitalised with injuries. Their condition is not yet known.

Shortly after 7.30 pm motorists reported seeing a car drive onto the M6 motorway, in the wrong direction, from the junction 15 slipway against westbound - Galway traffic.

It is understood the motorist drove against oncoming traffic for approximately two kilometres before colliding directly with a car, killing all three occupants.

It is understood the victims were a young family - a mother, father and infant child.

Onlookers reported seeing large plumes of smoke from the crash site in the moments after the crash.

The accident happened at a bend on the M6 motorway between junctions 15 and 14.

Gardaí are appealing to any witnesses of this collision to come forward.

The crash in Galway marks a dark 24-hour period on Irish roads as six people have died in two separate collisions.

Football coach Dave Conroy and another man were killed yesterday following an accident in Co Meath.

Meanwhile, a woman who lives close to the scene of last night's tragedy heard the collision and described the aftermath as “horrific”.

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“It was very scary. At about 7.30pm we were outside and we just heard a bang and the next thing we heard ambulances.

“After the initial bang, we didn’t really pass any remarks because there are farms around here. I went over the road when I heard all the sirens. Then there were fire brigades, you could see fire and loads of smoke.

“There was two fire brigades and about four ambulances. We thought there was a lorry involved because it was all we could see but it must have just stopped to help as it pulled off.

“It’s horrific."

Another local woman said: “I was on the phone to a friend and my husband was in another room in the house and he came into me and said the sirens are going mad.

“We often hear sirens because we live near the hospital. But this went on for longer than usual. It was repeated sirens. So I figured it was something serious.

“It’s just awful. I can’t even imagine the horror of it.”

Senator Aisling Dolan, who lives near the scene in Poolboy, said the entire town is in shock.

“It’s so hard to comprehend,” she told Shannonside Radio. “The whole town here is in shock, I mean people are just in shock and they’re grieving. It's absolutely terrible, a terrible tragedy. In a split second people’s lives have been changed.

“My own home place looks out over the motorway and it was absolutely shocking to see all the activity that was going on there.

“The firefighters were out there, the guards, ambulances, the air ambulance and it was a very tragic, very difficult scene for them to attend to.

“Just to think of the families that are hearing such terrific news today, you know, it just takes your breath away.

“All I can say is that people really are in shock and it was very frightening for those on the motorway so close to Ballinasloe yesterday.

“It occurred around 7.40pm,” Senator Dolan added. “We just saw a lot of the ambulances, roughly from quarter to, to ten to eight.

“To have seen all the services rushing out, you know, it was a very, very serious accident and it was immediately tragic.

“I think that the services had to immediately put actions in place to stop the traffic I think on both sides of the motorway.”

Ballinasloe Councillor Dermot Connolly described how the news came through this morning that there were four fatalities.

“On my own behalf and on behalf of the Ballinasloe district (we’d express) our sympathies to the families involved,” he said.

“It was terrible and tragic news to receive here locally and our thoughts and prayers are with those families this morning.

“Less than 24 hours before, my wife and my kids were on that same section of motorway. It could be anybody and it's just unfortunate that these families are caught up in this tragic incident. It’s your worst nightmare and unfortunately it's in our community this morning."

Responding to reports that three of the victims may have been in one car and all members of one family, Cllr Connolly said: “It's shocking news for everybody concerned. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.

“One thing is that the emergency services were out very quickly and on the scene, and I just want to pay particular tribute to them as well.

“It was a harrowing scene them to deal with. They are fantastic people and they are always there to assist and try and do what they can for the people.”

Independent Councillor for Ballinasloe Declan Geraghty said it was another “tragic” incident on roads of Galway after a man in his 80s also lost his life on the M6 last week in the county.

Cllr Geraghty said it was a “terrible tragedy” for the families of the people killed in the collision.”

Independent TD Denis Naughten also said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those killed and injured in this terrible incident in Ballinasloe yesterday evening.”

Gardaí are also appealing to any road users who may have camera footage (including dash-cam) and were travelling on the M6 at Poolboy, Ballinasloe, at the time to make this footage available to Gardaí.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Ballinasloe Garda Station on 090 9631890, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.

Gardaí have issued an urgent appeal to road users to take greater care on the roads following the tragic deaths.

Hazardous road conditions are likely in the coming days as Met Éireann has issued weather warnings for heavy rainfall and localised flooding.

Assistant Commissioner, Paula Hilman, Roads Policing and Community Engagement, said: "Not only has it been a horrific 24 hours on the roads, we are also seeing an increase in road deaths this year compared to the same period last year.

"Road tragedies affect all parts of the country. Every fatal or serious injury collision has a devastating impact on family, friends and communities.

"As we think of and send our sympathies to the families and friends of those who have been killed on our roads, I would ask every road user to play their part to make our roads safer and to think about their safety, and that of other road users.”

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