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'She was loved by so many people': Family of Cork schoolgirl killed in crash say they'll mourn her forever

Counselling is being offered to pupils at Kimberly O’Connor’s secondary school in Cork.

THE FAMILY OF a Cork secondary school student who died in a car crash have described her as a “very kind and generous person with a bright future.”

Kimberly O’Connor, who had just returned from doing voluntary worker in India, was a passenger in a car that hit a wall at Harbour View Road in Knocknaheeny in Cork city shortly before midnight on Wednesday. She was pronounced at the scene.

kimberly Source: Image approved by Kimberly O'Connor's family

Three teenage boys were injured in the crash. The driver of the car, who is understood to be 16, fled the scene by foot but later presented himself at the Mercy University Hospital where he was treated for non life threatening injuries.

Two teenage boys, understood to be 17-years-old, who were backseat passengers in the car were taken to Cork University Hospital.

One of the youths is understood to be in a critical condition. The car was not stolen but was instead a “company car” bought for a few hundred euro.

Kimberly’s mother Jennifer Haynes said in a statement that she would forever mourn her daughter.

“Our hearts are broken today at the loss of our beautiful daughter, sister, granddaughter, aunt, niece and friend Kimberly O’Connor. 

Kimberly had a bright future and was a very kind and generous person who was loved by so many people.

Haynes said her daughter had just returned from Kolkata having visited with the Hope Foundation. She went to India with her school and participated in the “Hope You Can Paint Project” visiting and painting local orphanages. 

She said her daughter was also involved in an exchange program with Cooperation Ireland visiting Belfast and engaging in cross-border projects and relationships working with students in the north of Ireland. She also had a creative streak. 

“Kimberly had a great interest in drama and singing and was very talented and had a great career lay ahead of her,” she said. 

“She she also played a leading role in two musicals in Terence MacSwiney Community College over the last two years with her friends and teachers.”

A postmortem is due to be carried out on Kimberly. Counselling is being offered to pupils at her secondary school in Cork.

In a statement Phil O’Flynn, principal of Terence McSwiney Community College said they were shocked and upset at the passing of the young girl whom they described as one of their leading lights.

“I am deeply saddened to report the death of one of our female students and the injury of two other boys, one a current student and the other a past pupil.

This is a terrible tragedy for the families of the students, our school and our community. Our sympathies and thoughts are with the families and friends of the deceased and injured.

The School Critical Management plan has been implemented. Staff members, including counselling personnel, are on site at the school today to offer support, advice and guidance to students.

It is understood that prayers were offered at St Mary’s on the Hill Church for young Kimberly and the persons injured in the crash.

Local Fianna Fail Councillor Tony Fitzgerald said that the community was in mourning and that people were “shocked” and “devastated” by the death of Kimberly.

Tributes poured in to young Kimberly online. In a Facebook post one friend said that she was “completely lost for words” at the death of her pal.

“I can’t believe it. My heart is broken in to a million pieces. Nobody ever expected this to happen. God does only take the best and he took you. You were too good for this life.”

Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have information regarding the collision, particularly any road users with dashcam footage who were travelling Harbour View Road between 11pm and 12.30am on 19th and 20th February 2020, to contact Gurranabraher Garda Station on 021 494 6200, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

About the author:

Olivia Kelleher

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