The death tole from last weekend’s Athy horror road smash rose to three yesterday after Jim O’Brien (85) lost his fight for life, just three days after his loving wife, Betty (81).
The couple’s car was in a collision with the motorbike of John Paul Doyle (29), who tragically passed away at the scene on Friday evening May 31. Betty also died in the accident at Ballycullane on the new link road between Athy and Ballitore. Funeral arrangements were being made yesterday, as communities in Kilberry, Kilkea and Athy came to terms with the news.
The O’Briens from Dairylands, Kilkea were staunch supporters of the local Grangenolvan club.
“It’s a terrible shock to the area and to the club,” said Grange chairman, PJ. Doyle. He praised Jim and Betty for their commitment and support.
“Betty was a really genuine and down to earth lady. She was the salt of the earth type lady.
“The family would be hugely involved in the club. Their son is law, Tom, played for us and Catherine, their daughter, was underage secretary and their two grandsons play for us,”
John Paul Doyle originally hailed from Kilberry but had been living at Ardrew Meadows in Athy.
He had recently got a new job at Glanbia in Ballitore and was on his way home when the accident occurred.
Jim and Betty had been visiting their only daughter, Catherine and had just left her house before the crash happened.
Local TD, Seán Ó Fearghaíl said: “This is a terrible tragedy to come at any time but particularly when many families are spending extra time together over the long weekend.
“I know the Gardaí and emergency services in Kildare are providing help and support to the families of those involved in this awful crash.”
A garda spokesperson said; “Gardai also wish to appeal to motorists who were travelling on the link road from Athy to the M9 between 1.30pm and 3pm on Friday May 31 and who may have witnessed this collision to contact Athy Garda Station on 059-8634210, The Garda Confidential Telephone Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.”
This accident brings the number of people killed on Kildare roads so far this year to eight including four motorcyclists.
Kildare Road Safety Officer, Declan Keogh once again appealed to all road users to be vigilant. Athy Town Council Cathaoirleach, Mark Wall said to have three local people involved in such a tragedy had hit Athy very hard.
He said his prayers were with both families.
Cllr. Martin Miley also acknowledged the dreadful loss experienced by both families.
- Niamh O’Donoghue