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'Four beautiful school friends' to be laid to rest after tragic Kildare crash

Funeral arrangements have been made for three of the young women.

athy

Niamh Doyle and Gemma Nolan in family photographs used for death notices on RIP.ie

Updated 6.25pm

THE FOUR YOUNG women who died in last night’s horrific crash in Kildare were all past pupils of the same school.

Gemma Nolan, Niamh Doyle, Ashling Middleton and Chermaine Carroll all attended St Leo’s College, an all-girls secondary school in Carlow.

In a statement this afternoon, the staff and students said they are “devastated at the loss of four beautiful young girls”.

It is with great sadness that we learned of the tragic accident involving five of our past pupils. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to their families and friends at this awful time. May their gentle souls rest in peace.

The message, issued through the Catholic Communications Office, also prayed for “their friend who was injured in last night’s crash”, asking for “God to extend his healing grace to her”.

“We also think of the driver and passenger in the van and ask God to be with them and their families.”

Funeral arrangements for three of the girls have been announced.

Ashling, aged 19 from Athy, will repose at a funeral home in Naas on Friday evening before removal on Saturday morning to the Church of the Irish Martyrs in Naas for 11am Mass. She will be laid to rest in St Corban’s Cemetery in the town.

She is survived by her mother Sharon, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Her Dad Ray has passed away.

A Maynooth University student, Ashling was in her second year of studying English and Anthropology.

In a statement today, the college said it was  ”deeply saddened and shocked” to learn of the death of the student.

Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the four young women so suddenly and sadly taken from us. We are mindful also of the three people injured in the accident who remain in hospital, and we hope for their full recovery.

The University is providing support and counselling services to students and staff.

Niamh, also 19 and from Carlow, will be mourned by her immediate family – heartbroken parents Ber and Veronica, sister Louise, brother Kevin, niece Rachel and boyfriend Shane.

Her remains will repose at a funeral home in Carlow on Thursday evening and Friday. Her funeral Mass will take place on Saturday at 11.15am in Askea. She will be buried at St Mary’s Cemetery in Carlow. The family has asked for donation to be made to Carlow Regional Youth Services in lieu of flowers.

Gemma, aged 19, is survived by her parents Jim and Josephine, brothers John, Fran and Darren and boyfriend Frankie. Her funeral Mass will be held in Askea on Friday afternoon with burial at St Mary’s Cemetery in Carlow.

Chermaine, aged 20, was an employee of the Woodford Dolmen Hotel. In a statement this evening, the firm said she was a part of its “close knit team for the past three-and-a-half years.

She was a beautiful person inside and out and always had a happy smile to share. We are very sad that we will not have her around us anymore. She was like family and was always bubbly and a pleasure to work with. Chermaine made many work friends who are all devastated today.

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“We would like to extend our sincerest condolences to her family, friends and boyfriend Toss and to the Middleton, Nolan and Doyle families. Our prayers and thoughts are with the Kearney family at this heartbreaking time.”

Sometimes there are no words – only shoulders to lean on, hands to hold on to and hugs to comfort you as best they can.

The four women were killed when the car they were travelling in collided with a van near Athy last night.

The crash happened shortly before 9.45pm at Burtown in Kildare, around three miles from Junction 3 of the M9, heading for Athy on the N78.

Local priest Fr Frank McEvoy was called to the scene, telling media today there was little hope for the teenagers and young woman as they were taken to Naas hospital where they were pronounced dead.

The local area has been shocked by the tragedy and the loss of four young lives.

Bishop Denis Nulty, the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, said he is “deeply shocked” by the crash.

It is a dark day for the people of Carlow, Rathcoole and Athy and there is very little any of us can say at this time to comfort those bereaved by this tragedy.

Kildare County Council’s Road Safety Officer Declan Keogh described the collision as ‘appalling, tragic and beyond comprehension’.

He said the four deaths have torn asunder many families, friends and communities in Athy and Carlow.

First published 4.42pm

“A desperate tragedy”: Shock in Co Kildare as four young women killed in road crash

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