Gardaí investigating the Co Galway road traffic crash that claimed the lives of Lukas Joyce (14) and Kirsty Bohan (14) are hopeful interviews with the two survivors, also children, will help them piece together how the crash occurred.
Mobile phones were also found at the scene of the crash in Headford on the N84 between Galway and Castlebar at about 5.45am on Monday. Gardaí said the phones might offer some insight into how the vehicle hit a tree by the roadside.
Funeral details have been announced for the two children killed.
On Friday Kirsty Bohan, from Ballyfruit close to where the single vehicle incident occurred, will be laid to rest at Donaghpatrick in Headford following her funeral mass at the Church of St Patrick and Cuana at noon.
On Saturday, second year classmate Lukas Joyce from Farmstown, Corrandulla, will be laid to rest on Saturday in Annaghdown cemetery following requiem mass at noon in St Brendan’s Church, Annaghdown.
Kirsty is survived by her parents Christy and Theresa, her two sisters who are also students at Presentation College Headford, and extended family.
Lukas is survived by his parents Joe and Neringa, his grandparents in Lithuania, Vitas and Zita Kelmeliene, and extended familiy.
Orla Jackson, the acting principal of Presentation College Headford, where the deceased children were second-year students, was critical of the “conjecture and downright lies” written about the crash by some social media users. She urged her students’ parents to take their phones from them because reading some of the online comments would be “terribly detrimental to their mental health at the moment”.
She added Lukas and Kirsty “loved school” where everyone “loved their presence” as they were “very treasured members of our school community” and had “a huge circle of friends” as well as being “two particularly pleasant and smiling youngsters”.
Headford parish priest Fr Ray Flaherty told The Irish Times the local community was “devastated” that children so young had been killed. “There’s shock and disbelief and I’d say there’s a numbness… These children are so young,” he said.
Sylane Camogie Club said it was “deeply saddened” to hear of the “tragic and heartbreaking news that our young camóg Kirsty Bohan” passed away on Monday.
“We offer our most wholehearted and sincerest sympathies to Kirsty’s parents, Theresa and Christy, to her sisters Martha and Ava, and to all her family and friends,” the club said in a statement.
“We keep them all, and all other families affected, in our thoughts and prayers.”
Presentation College Headford set up a shrine with the children’s photographs surrounded by flowers and candles. The school opened its doors, during the Easter holidays, to allow other children and their parents gather and speak to psychologists from the National Educational Psychological Service.
Cllr Mary Hoade, chairwoman of the board of management at the school, said there was “shock and disbelief at what has happened”. A letter from school management to parents has advised them to monitor their children’s social media activity over the coming days and reinforce “the need to be extremely sensitive and careful about what they post”.
The Department of Education said for the local school “the wellbeing of the students, staff and whole school community is of paramount importance” after “the devastating loss of beloved students”. It also urged the media to “refrain from filming or approaching anyone on their way to and from the school”, saying students and their families needed privacy “at this tragic and difficult time”.
The deceased children suffered fatal injuries when the car they were travelling struck a tree by the roadside at Glennagarraun in the Ballyfruit area of Headford at about 5.45am on Monday. Lukas was pronounced dead at the scene while Kirsty died at University Hospital Galway.
The other two children – a girl aged 14 years and a boy aged 13 years, both also from Headford – were taken to the same hospital. The injured boy’s condition is not believed to be life-threatening. The injured girl has been transferred to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.
The scene of the crash has undergone an examination by the Garda forensic collision investigators while the vehicle was also being examined. Gardaí at Tuam station have urged any motorists who were travelling between 5.30am and 6am on the road where the crash occurred to contact them. They are especially keen to review any dashcam footage recorded by motorists at the time.