Village devastated as three women die in crash returning from holiday

Louth victims included mother, daughter and friend from same small Donegal housing estate

The three women who died in the Co Louth car crash early yesterday all came from the the same small housing estate in a village in Donegal.

They were members of two families travelling home to Bruckless following a holiday in Turkey. Gardaí are still investigating the cause of the crash which happened about 1am near Aclint in Co Louth.

Those killed were named as 69-year-old Margaret McGonagle from Castlereagh in Bruckless; her daughter, Mairead Mundy, from Ballyloughan in Bruckless; and Racheal Battles, also from Ballyloughan in Bruckless. The families live next to each other on the five-house estate

The crash victims had been to Turkey on a number of occasions on holidays and also to celebrate Mairead’s first wedding anniversary. She had taken her best friend Racheal, who is originally from Ardara, as well as her mother Margaret on the holiday.

Separate car

A number of other family members also went on the trip including Racheal’s husband Martin and Mairead’s husband, Pauric Mundy.

The male members of the party were travelling in a separate car at the time of the crash.

Rachel's grandmother Ellen Cassidy, who lived with her grand-daughter, had been in short-term respite care and was looking forward to returning to sharing her house with Rachel when she returned home.

A third family from Bruckless had been holidaying with the group but had returned a short time earlier via Manchester.

Among those injured is a six-year-old daughter of Racheal who was transferred from Our Lady’s Of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda to Crumlin’s Children Hospital where she is being treated for internal injuries.

Fr James Sweeney, parish priest of Bruckless said: "In all of my 32 years as a priest, this is undoubtedly the saddest day. One death in tragic circumstances is difficult to take but three deaths from the same small community is devastating.


“But the people of this community are resilient and they will pull together to support these families in the days ahead,” he said.

He added that it was especially tragic that the accident occurred as the families were returning from holiday.

“Life is for living and this is what these families were doing. It is just so tragic that it has ended in this way,” he added.

Ardara businessman Stephen McCahill said he was just devastated by the news.

“We have had more than our fair share of tragedy in Donegal and we always seems to have such a tragedy in the summer months and here we are again.

“It’s impossible to put into words how the community feels at the moment. The word began to filter through this morning and people still cannot believe it.

“I knew Racheal as a young woman in Ardara and she was lovely. She was a very kind person and was particularly good to her grandmother Ellen.

“It’s just devastating to think that so many people have been affected by this tragedy,” he said.