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Utter shock Cork bus crash victims remembered as community reels from tragedy

It is understood that gardaí are following a line of inquiry that indicates the driver suffered a medical trauma and lost control of the vehicle.

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RIP: Fr Con Cronin

RIP: Fr Con Cronin

RIP: Fr Con Cronin

Tributes have continued to be paid to the two victims of yesterday’s horrific bus crash in Cork. 

As investigations into the crash involving a Bus Éireann bus on the Strand Road in Monkstown get underway, local people and the wider church community have expressed their sadness and grief at the loss of the two men in the incident.

Local priest Fr Con Cronin, who was aged in his 60s, was struck by the bus that veered out of control at around 1.30pm.

The bus also hit a number of parked vehicles before coming to a stop.

Mark Wills, the driver of the bus who was aged in his 50s, also died.

The Ballincollig native is a father to teenage children and was pronounced dead on the arrival of emergency services.

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The scene of a fatal road traffic accident where a bus collided with a number of cars in Monkstown, Cork Harbour. Photo: Daragh McSweeney

The scene of a fatal road traffic accident where a bus collided with a number of cars in Monkstown, Cork Harbour. Photo: Daragh McSweeney

The scene of a fatal road traffic accident where a bus collided with a number of cars in Monkstown, Cork Harbour. Photo: Daragh McSweeney

It is understood that gardaí are following a line of inquiry that indicates the driver suffered a medical trauma and lost control of the vehicle.

A child was also injured.

Southern correspondent with the Irish Independent, Ralph Riegel, told Newstalk Breakfast a quick-thinking passer-by also saved a teenage girl.

"The local curate, Fr Con Cronin, it's believed he was having lunch locally and he was walking either to his car or towards his home and he was caught by this coach as it came by.

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"A man was also nearby and he saw what was going to happen, and had the split-second response to shove a teenage girl out of the way.

"So both of those only suffered cuts and bruises.

"There are two investigations underway at the moment: there's an investigation by Bus Éireann into what happened and there's also a Garda investigation.

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The scene of a fatal road collision where a bus collided with a number of cars in Monkstown, Cork Harbour. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

The scene of a fatal road collision where a bus collided with a number of cars in Monkstown, Cork Harbour. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

The scene of a fatal road collision where a bus collided with a number of cars in Monkstown, Cork Harbour. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

"The main theory at the moment is that the poor driver of the bus had some type of a medical emergency, possibly a heart attack, which incapacitated him and resulted in the bus then veering across the road the way it did.”

Bishop Fintan Gavin said: “We have learned with utter shock and sadness of the untimely death of Father Con Cronin RIP, curate in the Harbour Parishes of Passage West and Monkstown, who died as a result of an accident.

“Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go to Father Con’s family, his wide circle of friends, parishioners and his fellow priests in the Saint 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.”

A vigil was held for him in his local town last night, with his devastated parishioners remembering him as "a true gentleman" who will be "missed greatly" by the community.

Sharing a video of the vigil online, one person said: "Father Con Cronin, the local parish priest, was killed in a tragic accident this morning.

"This atheist would like to put it on record that we have lost one of the greatest people on Earth.

"Footage from this evening's vigil, where we are all trying to get our heads around it."

Bus Eireann paid tribute to their long-term employee Mark Wills, with Chief Executive Stephen Kent saying: "This is a very tragic event. This is a terrible and sad day for everyone at Bus Éireann, and we are all heavy-hearted.

"Our thoughts are with the families and communities affected by this loss. We would like sincerely to thank the emergency services for all their work and assistance today and our own employees who responded at the scene.”

The statement added: "Safety has always been Bus Éireann’s priority and the company is also investigating the accident, and cooperating fully with the relevant authorities."

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