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Nicole Murphy, Grace McSweeney, Zoey Coffey, Luke McSweeney Garda Press Office
Co Tipperary

Funeral details announced for three of the victims killed in Clonmel crash

Crowds gathered at the Kickham Barracks Plaza in Clonmel for a prayer vigil yesterday evening

LAST UPDATE | 28 Aug 2023

THE FUNERAL DETAILS for three of the four people who died tragically in a crash in Clonmel, Co Tipperary on Friday night have been announced. 

18-year-olds Grace McSweeney, Zoey Coffey and Nicole Murphy were heading to a Leaving Cert results celebration event and were being driven by Luke McSweeney, aged 24, when the incident happened. 

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Clonmel parish priest Fr John Treacy confirmed the funeral details of Luke and Grace McSweeney.

The funeral for siblings will take place at 11.30am on Friday in St Peter and Paul’s Church in Clonmel, followed by burial in St Patrick’s Cemetery.

Funeral details have also been announced for Nicole Murphy. 

Her funeral mass will take place at 12pm in St John the Baptist Church in Kilcash, Co Tipperary, followed by her burial in the adjoining cemetery.  

The funeral details for Zoey Coffey have not yet been confirmed. 

Condolences for the four victims have poured in from across the country, with one online condolence noting: “Words cannot express my heartfelt sympathy to you all.”

Another read: “There are simply no words that will ever help you all but just know that we are supporting you from near and far.”

Class of 2023 tragedies

Fr Treacy told RTÉ that the increase in the number of people attending Mass yesterday was “quite noticable”. 

“People trying in some way to embrace that desolation or try to put some kind of understanding on it, if that’s the word, by turning to prayer and turning to the continuity of the church and the refuge of the church in some ways,” he said. 

Speaking to reporters in Drogheda this morning, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris said it has been a “horrific tradegy, on top of, already, tragedies that have affected the class of 2023″.

“We know of the two young lives lost in Clones and, indeed, the two young men who lost their lives in Ios not that long ago either,” Harris said. 

“For a class, for a generation, who have been through so much, lived through a pandemic and everything else got to this point of achievement, I’m really conscious of the great sense of grief and upset that they’re feeling,” he said. 

Harris said both himself and the Minister for Education “continue to work really closely on this to make sure that young people are supported”. 

“Obviously, most particularly and urgent is the need to support those who were in school with the four people who lost their lives in Clonmel,” he said. 

Harris said that as colleges reopen, it will be ensured mental health supports are available. 

“The Leaving Cert day is always such a day of achievement, it is a milestone day in the life of every young person in this country, and for that day, on that very day, for such a tragedy to have enveloped not just Clonmel but the entire country is something that is felt in the hearts and minds of everybody across the country,” he said. 

Tributes

Books of condolence for each victim have been opened at the local council offices at County Hall in Clonmel this morning.

Several people lined up waiting to sign the books ahead of them opening.

A vigil was held in Clonmel yesterday evening to remember the victims. 

Among those in attendance at the vigil yesterday were classmates of Grace McSweeney, Zoey Coffey and Nicole Murphy and first responders.

Young people were seen hugging and comforting each other as the service began with a hymn.

people-light-candles-at-the-end-of-the-vigil-in-kickham-plaza-co-tipperary-in-memory-of-luke-mcsweeney-24-his-18-year-old-sister-grace-mcsweeney-zoey-coffey-and-nicole-murphy-both-also-18-who-d People light candles at the end of the vigil in Kickham Plaza, Co Tipperary yesterday Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Speaking today, Mayor of Clonmel Richie Molloy said: “This morning, I suppose, was another part of the community coming together, we as a council decided to open four books of condolences for the four victims of the terrible tragedy that has occurred over the weekend.

“Last night’s vigil (in Clonmel) really showed the community coming out, I suppose, to give some solace to the families and we just can only barely imagine the trauma that they’re going through, and I think the books are another way for the people of the town to come out and to show their sympathy by signing the book.”

Speaking after the vigil, Bishop of Waterford Alphonsus Cullinan said there was a “strength” in the community coming together in grief.

“Because there’s so many people here, it just shows the strength of community that’s here, the bond that’s here,” he said.

“Everyone here has a connection with those three families and those four youngsters, God love them all.

“So, there’s a real strength in that consoling one another, helping one another, to go through the grief, praying together, as well as singing together, crying together.

“It’s heartbreaking and there’s no easy solution. There’s no easy words. We just have to find the strength to struggle on.”

The identities of the deceased youngsters were publicly confirmed by gardaí on Saturday afternoon. 

Forensic investigators have been examining the scene of the incident and gardaí are appealing for witnesses to come forward with any information.

Family Liaison Officers have been appointed to the affected families to provide support and updates during the course of the garda investigation.

With reporting by Eoghan Dalton and Press Association

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