Three Donegal women die in County Louth car crash
Three woman who died after a car crash in County Louth in the Republic of Ireland were a mother and daughter and a family friend from County Donegal.
A man and a young girl were seriously hurt in the three-vehicle crash on the N2, the main Monaghan to Dublin road, south of Aclint Bridge near Ardee.
The man and girl are being treated for their injuries in a Drogheda hospital.
The victims have been named locally as as Margaret McGonigle, her daughter Mairead and Rachel Cassidy Battles.
They were on their way home to Bruckless in County Donegal from Dublin Airport after a holiday abroad.
Mrs McGonigle, 69, was a passenger in the car driven by her 39-year-old daughter, Mairead.
Their 37-year-old friend, Rachel Cassidy Battles, was also in the vehicle.
It was originally reported that two men had been seriously hurt in the overnight collision, but Gardaí (Irish police) have since provided clarification.
Father James Sweeney, a parish priest from Bruckless, near Killybegs in County Donegal, said he knew all three of the victims.
"It is probably one of the worst tragedies I have come across in all my years working in parishes," he added.
"I would have had conversations with these people before and they were lovely.
"My understanding is that they were on a holiday abroad and were on their way home again to Donegal.
"People are devastated in this area."
Supt Fergus Treanor, from Ardee Garda station, said: "We came across a very difficult scene.
"They were returning from a holiday, which is terribly sad."
"An ambulance travelling to Donegal came across the accident and luckily those people were there to give assistance fairly early on."
The N2 road is closed between Ardee and Aclint Bridge as gardaí carry out an investigation at the scene of the crash.
Garda Treanor told Irish broadcaster RTÉ that there had been several fatal collisions on the N2, including "a number of them over the last few months".
The officer was at the scene of Friday's crash shortly after it happened at about 01:00 local time.
He said road conditions were wet at that stage, and the weather deteriorated over the next few hours.