‘Shock, numbness and a feeling of despair’ hangs over Headford

Lukas Joyce and Kirsty Bohan.

Lukas Joyce and Kirsty Bohan.

The area of Headford has been described as a place filled with ‘shock, numbness and a feeling of despair’ following the deaths of two young teenagers, Lukas Joyce and Kirsty Bohan in a road traffic accident on Monday.

Lukas Joyce from Annaghdown and Kirsty Bohan from Ballyfruit, Headford, died after the car they were travelling in hit a tree on the L6127 road at Glennagarraun, Ballyfruit, close to Bohan’s home area. Lukas passed away at the scene of the accident Monday morning and Kirsty was later that morning pronounced dead at University Hospital Galway. The two other occupants of the car, an unnamed boy and girl both from Headford, are currently in hospital suffering with multiple injuries. Both Kirsty and Lukas were students of Presentation College Headford, with the school paying tribute to the two saying, “We have lost two treasured members of our school community today and two other members of our community are injured.

“We pray for all the families and friends of those involved that they may be granted some peace and succour at this tragic time. We also pray for our own school community, that we may find the strength to support each other and carry on. We ask for your support, prayers and the space to grieve as a school community.”

Local Fianna Fail councillor and chairperson for the Board of Management at Presentation College Headford, Mary Hoade, said that the school has a ‘critical illness response’ for students of the school to help support the peers of Lukas and Kirsty.

Cllr Hoade said that Headford is an area stunned over the loss, with residents dealing with “shock, numbness and a feeling of despair” following the tragic accident.

“We are a very big school community. We have almost 1,000 pupils in our school. We have a very caring community, and we will be working very closely with our students and staff, and indeed anyone that has been affected by this over the next few days. As I say the critical incident response will immediately kick into place when we work with them over the next few days.”

The school leadership team and school staff have endeavoured to provide a support to students affected by the tragic loss, by offering a ‘warm and safe’ environment for children and parents to reflect upon the incident as well as providing letters to the parents of students to be mindful of what they see and post on social media during this time period.

A community traumatised

Cllr Andrew Reddington who lives in Headford, said that both Lukas and Kirsty’s families should be allowed to grieve and protect the privacy of their families.

“Two young people have passed away and there are two young people in hospital and the whole community is traumatised and the heartache is unreal amongst everybody and the two families of the deceased children were well known in the Headford and Corrundulla and are extremely well respected in the area.

“I think it’s important for me to say as well from the number of phone calls I got on Sunday that we need to let the families grieve their children now and protect the integrity of the family and, I suppose, just to be careful of what is being put online in relation to this. Two young people have died and they were only starting off in life, starting off in secondary school and their families need that time to grieve for their children and I suppose to organise a funeral and to let them do that.

“It’s one of the worst things I remember happening in the area, it was mentioned earlier on about this area here, that it is a very close knit area. Headford is the main town, but it’s surrounded by rural parishes and a lot of these kids, especially the two young people who passed away, they would know each other because there’s a massive school there where all the kids from different parishes go to the school and it’s going to be extremely tough for the whole area for the next couple of weeks. All I can say is that the support will be there and we will do our very best to support the families and support the people in the area.”

Headford’s parish priest, Fr Ray Flaherty, said that the loss of Kirsty and Lukas will be felt across Headford and the surrounding area for a long time.

“The community is totally numbed, they’re shocked and they’re in disbelief really of what has happened to these young people, because they’re all known and their families are all known to the local people and the local community around Headford as well, so we’re just in disbelief really.

“I think that a young person when they die, they’re always remembered as being a young person just starting their lives and all of a sudden it’s taken from them so quickly and I suppose to realise that we think we’re invincible but the thing is our lives can be taken from us so quickly in different tragedies and circumstances like this.”

Funeral arrangements

Local community groups in the area have paid tributes to the loss, with Caherlistrane GAA & LGFA sharing sympathies via its Facebook page, saying “We are all heartbroken beyond words. We send our love and support to Christy, Theresa, Martha and Ava at the unfathomable loss of Kirsty. Heartfelt condolences to the Joyce family on the tragic passing of Lukas.

“Our thoughts and prayers for a full recovery for those still in hospital. May we all find comfort and support in each other at this saddest of times. Go dtí go mbualfimid aris.”

Funeral arrangements for both Kirsty and Lukas have been confirmed, with Kirsty reposing at Ryders Funeral home, Headford, today (Thursday ) before returning home. Requiem Mass taking place tomorrow (Friday ) at the Church of St Patrick and Cuana and a burial afterwards in Donaghpatrick Cemetery. As stated on RIP.ie, the reposal at home will be strictly private.

Kirsty is sorely missed by her heartbroken parents, Christy and Theresa as well as her two sisters, Martha and Ava, grandmother Peggy and many other relatives, friends and neighbours.

Lukas’ funeral will take place on Saturday in St Brendan’s Church, Annaghdown at 12pm before burial in Annaghdown Cemetery. Lukas will repose at Corrandulla Mortuary Chapel tomorrow (Friday ) afternoon from three until six pm before being removed to his home. House is strictly private by request.

Lukas is deeply missed by his parents, Joe and Neringa, aunts, uncles, grandparents and relatives in both Ireland and Lithuania as well as neighbours and his many, many friends.

Tragic road accidents

Galway is no stranger to tragic road accidents claiming young lives, just eight weeks before the tragedy in Headford, three teenagers lost their lives when the car they were travelling entered the water at Menlo Pier. The accident which claimed the life of Wojciech Panek (17 ), Christopher Stokes (19 ) and John Keenan Sammon (16 ) happened on February 11 and has been one of many so far this year.

Last year, Galway county was listed as having the third highest in the country for road fatalities with 12 deaths reported, this year’s number of traffic fatalities in Galway is rapidly creeping up on that annual overall figure and will almost certainly return a higher number by the end of the year.

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Jack Chambers T.D., has said that these figures are a cause of concern, speaking to RTÉ radio, Chambers said that the Government are looking into ways to prevent the rising trend of road traffic deaths, which have seen a national increase.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward and contact Tuam Garda Station, 093 70840, or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111. Any road users who may have dashcam footage of the event, or were travelling along the L6127 at Glennagarraun, Ballyfruit in Headford between 5:30am and 6am have been asked to make the footage available to Gardai.

 

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