Motorist killed in 12-car pile up outside Limerick

Section of M7 Dublin to Limerick road closed after crash during hailstom

A postman has died following a road traffic incident in Co Mayo on Wednesday morning. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

A postman has died following a road traffic incident in Co Mayo on Wednesday morning. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times


Two people have died in separate car crashes in Cos Limerick and Mayo.

Part of the M7 Dublin to Limerick Road was closed Wednesday evening after a motorist lost his life in what local sources described as a 12-car pile up.

The man, aged in his 50s, suffered catastrophic head injuries after his car left the road between Birdhill and Castletroy, shortly before 8pm.

It is believed a sudden hailstone storm which is reported to have hit the area may have been a factor in the multi-vehicle collision.

The deceased had been driving from Birdhill towards Limerick when his car left the road and crashed through a fence, a source said.

At least six fire trucks containing crews from Limerick City, and Newport, Nenagh, in Co Tipperary, as well as six ambulances from the region, were dispatched to the scene.

Gardaí have closed the southbound traffic lane between Junction 27 Birdhill and Junction 28 Castletroy and are awaiting a garda forensic collision investigator to conduct a detailed examination of the scene.

“There was a massive snowball storm and a heavy shower of sleet around the time of the fatal crash. There were at around 12 cars involved,” a reliable source said.

Gardai at Henry Street Garda Station, Limerick, are investigating.

Postman killed

Earlier, a Co Mayo postman died after his postal van collided with a car on the R312 Castlebar to Belmullet road in the Keenagh area at about 10am.

Mattie Merrick, from Ballycarroon, Crossmolina, who was in his 60s, was a part-time farmer and long-serving employee of An Post.

An Post CEO David McRedmond expressed his sympathies to Mr Merrick’s family, saying that he was saddened by the news.

Michael Loftus, a Crossmolina-based member of Mayo County Council, said the tragedy had left the community in shock.

“I knew Mattie well,” Mr Loftus said.

“He was a hardworking man whose house and farm was exceedingly well kept.”

Mr Merrick was the sole occupant of the postal van when the crash occurred.

A male and female in the other car, both aged in their 30s, were brought to Mayo University Hospital, Castlebar, after the incident.

Their injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.

The Castlebar to Belmullet road was closed to traffic for a time as gardaí carried out a forensic examination of the crash scene.

Gardaí­ have appealed for witnesses to the incident to contact Belmullet Garda station on 097-81910, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666111 or any Garda station.