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Una Bowden and her daughters Ciara and Saoirse in a photo released by gardaí Garda Press Office
bowden family

'The community is so devastated': Locals pay tributes to mother and daughters killed in Mayo crash

Una Bowden and her children Ciara and Saoirse were travelling along the N17 when their car was involved in a crash on Tuesday.

TRIBUTES ARE CONTINUING to be paid following the deaths of a woman and her two daughters in a crash in Co Mayo on Tuesday afternoon. 

Una Bowden (47) and her daughters Ciara (14) and Saoirse (9) were travelling along the N17 when their car was involved in a crash with an articulated truck.

It’s understood that Una’s husband David Bowden has been working abroad this week in Africa and was contacted by authorities about the deaths of his wife and daughters.

The family hail from Maigh Cuilinn in west Galway.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Maigh Cuilinn parish priest Fr Martin Whelan said the family were very involved in sports and social clubs in the local area and were “very well known”. 

“The community is so devastated,” he said. 

A service was held in Moycullen last night for the family, with classmates of the two girls in attendance. 

“We would have had prayer service anyway yesterday for Spy Wednesday during Holy week, so we just dedicated that half an hour of prayer and remembered the family. It was also just an opportunity for people to gather, as well,” Fr Whelan said. 

He said the girls’ schools are working with the National Education Psychological Service to provide support. 

Also speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Oughterard Rugby Club PRO Julie Ann Brown said the club “are all devastated in Oughterard Rugby and in the wider community”.

“The Bowdens were very active in many sports, both in Maigh Cuilinn and in Oughterard, so it’s such a tragedy for the area. Three beautiful, kind, loving, caring ladies just gone in a moment,” Brown said.

She said that while people are in shock, they are coming together and remembering the Bowdens. 

“They were very quiet girls, yet they had this beautiful energy about them and their smiles really lit up the rooms and the playing fields and every photo we have of them through the Oughterard girls’ rugby is of them smiling,” Brown said. 

Cumann Camogaiochta Mhaigh Cuilinn said it was “devastated” at the “terrible tragedy”.

“Ciara and Saoirse were both valued members of Cumann Camogaiochta Mhaigh Cuilinn.

“Ciara was a member of the U15 and 16 panels and played as recently as last Sunday. Her younger sister Saoirse was a member of the U10 team.

“Ciara, Saoirse and Una will all be greatly missed by their friends, teammates and coaches.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with David and the extended Bowden family and all of their friends and neighbours.”

“It is with enormous sadness that Cumann Cispheile Mhaigh Cuilinn has learned of the tragic deaths of our neighbours and clubmates Una, Ciara, and Saoirse Bowden,” the local basketball group said on its website.

“The Bowdens were active in many sports throughout our community.

“Ciara had been selected for the Galway Area girls under-14 basketball team.

“The thoughts and prayers of everyone in Cumann Cispheile Mhaigh Cuilinn are with the family, friends, and teammates of the Bowden family.

“We cannot possibly fathom their grief but we send them our love and support.”

The Moycullen Handball group said it was “heart-breaking news”.

“Una and Ciara were both active members of our club and will be sadly missed.

“At this time of unimaginable grief we extend our deepest sympathies to Una’s husband David, their extended families and friends.”

- With reporting by Press Association