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'A cloud of sadness over the area': Tributes paid to four young men killed in Co Donegal car crash

John Harley, Seán Harkin, Mícheál Roarty and Daniel Scott were killed in a single-vehicle collision last night.

The scene in Gortahork, Donegal, Ireland, where four young men were killed in a road crash last night
The scene in Gortahork, Donegal, Ireland, where four young men were killed in a road crash last night
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

TRIBUTES HAVE BEEN paid to four young men in their 20s who were killed in a car crash in Co Donegal last night.

John Harley, Shaun Harkin, Mícheal Roarty and Daniel Scott were killed in a single-vehicle collision near Magheraroarty, Gortahork, shortly before 9pm yesterday.

The cause of the crash is not yet known, and investigators remain at the scene of the accident to establish how the tragic incident happened.

All four men are expected to be waked in their homes tomorrow, and their funerals will take place later this week.

They have been described as well-known in the areas of Gweedore, Falcarragh and Gortahork, where they were originally from, and are understood to have been active in local soccer and GAA clubs.

‘Totally numb’

Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Pat ‘the Cope Gallagher’ said the local community was “left reeling” in the aftermath of the tragedy.

“It is shocking to think that four young men, with their whole lives ahead of them, have died in this horrific incident,” he said.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of these men. I know the community will rally around the families over the tough days and weeks ahead.”

Sinn Féin councillor John Seamais Ó Fearraigh echoed these sentiments, saying that people in the area were “devastated”.

“The two parishes of Gweedore and Gortahork are just totally numb this morning,” he told

Four young men have lost their lives, it’s a huge tragedy. It’s just devastating for all the families and all the friends as well.

He also praised emergency services for their response to the incident last night, saying: “You can’t imagine what they go through, it’s very distressing.”

Local Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty also expressed “thoughts and prayers” for the families of the four men, and said there was a “cloud of sadness” over the area.

Fr Sean Ó Gallchóir, the parish priest of Gortahork, said the local community would rally around the families of the four men.

“All the boys would be very well-known lads and families in the community, and it stretches over three or four parishes here in the west of Donegal,” he told RTÉ Radio 1′s Morning Ireland.

Another local priest, Fr Brian O’Fearraigh, told Today with Seán O’Rourke that the crash scene was “the stuff of nightmares”.

“Two communities [are] plunged into the depths of grief and mourning by this most tragic of events,” he said.

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“It’s people’s worst nightmare. We are with [the families] … going forward in the next few days will be extremely difficult,” O’Fearraigh said.

Ten deaths

Meanwhile, Mícheál Roarty’s GAA club Ghaoth Dobhair expressed sympathy with the four victims.

“Our deepest sympathies to the Roarty family, whose child died tragically last night,” the club said in a tweet.

“Our thoughts are with our friends in CLG Chloich Cheann Fhaola at this time as well. May their souls rest in peace.”

Chief Superintendent Finbarr Murphy of the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau said the force was “deeply saddened” by the death toll on Irish roads over the past week, when ten people have been killed.

“I want to take this opportunity to send our condolences to all of those affected by these tragic events,” he added.

With reporting from Órla Ryan and Christine Bohan.

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