New Year Tragedy | 

'Miracle' three-week-old baby survives horror crash that killed mother and young couple

'Miracle' three-week-old baby girl was front-seat passenger in crash that claimed life of young mother and young couple
Shane and Saoirse

Shane and Saoirse

Neil Fetherstonhaugh & Clodagh Meaney

The New Year got off to a tragic start on Irish roads after four people lost their lives in two separate collisions within a 24-hour period.

A "miracle" three-week-old baby girl was a front-seat passenger in a horror crash that claimed the life of a young mother and a young couple on New Year's Eve in Co Meath.

The infant received minor injuries, as did her one-year-old sister, who was in the back seat with 12-year-old boy. He has serious but non-life-threatening injuries after the two-car collision.

Their mother has been named locally as Julieanne Kehoe (27).

In the other car, a young woman and her boyfriend were also killed. They have been named locally as 21-year-old Saoirse Corrigan and 23-year-old Shane Gilchrist from Co Westmeath.

Gardaí say the crash was at the N52 in Kells at around 4.15pm on Friday. The young couple were heading towards Mullingar. Ms Corrigan died at the scene, while her boyfriend died on the way to Blanchardstown hospital.

Last night tributes were paid to the young couple who were heavily involved in the local GAA community.

In a Facebook post, Ringtown GAA said: "We are all in shock and devastated with the tragic death of our beautiful friend and club member Saoirse.

"We remember especially all her ­family members and her partner Shane who also sadly died in the accident.

"As a mark of respect, Ringtown lotto is cancelled for 2 weeks at least. May their gentle souls rest in peace."

People have offered their condolences on with one reading: "My thoughts are with you all, at this sad time" and, "I love you all so much. Rest sweet boy."

Flowers left at the site of the appalling accident

Flowers left at the site of the appalling accident

It is understood that young mother Julieanne Kehoe was alive when medics arrived but died shortly after being taken to Blanchardstown hospital.

The three-week-old girl in the front seat received minor injuries as did the one-year-old baby girl in the back seat. The 12-year-old boy received serious injuries but is expected to survive.

The children were transported to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda. The boy was yesterday transferred to Temple Street Children's Hospital where he is receiving ongoing treatment. Their car was headed in the direction of Cavan when the crash happened.

"It is miracle that the three-week-old survived the crash, considering the three other adults in the front seats of both cars all died. The crash is a terrible tragedy. Gardaí are trying to determine the exact circumstances," a source said.

"There were no other cars on the road, or other witnesses, so we are reliant of forensic scene investigators to determine exactly what happened. And these times take some time," the source added.

Early indications suggest that one of the two cars veered onto the other side of the road colliding head-on with the other car.

Local councillor Frank McDermott said: "The Gilchrist family would be big into camogie, hurling and GAA, as are the Corrigans. Ringtown would be Saoirse's home club and Castlepollard would be Shane's club.

"Both families would be very well-known in the local communities where they are from and it's an absolute tragedy for them all."

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