A remote rural community in Co Donegal is rallying around the families of four men who were killed in a road crash.
The men, who were in their 20s, died after the car they were travelling in left a narrow country road in the north west of the county.
The emergency services were called to the scene near Magheraroarty, Gortahork, at 8.40pm on Sunday.
Gardai and fire and rescue and ambulance services worked to save the men on a mountain bog road but they all died at the scene.
The men have been named locally as John Harley, 24, and Shaun Harkin, 22, from Falcarragh, Michael Roarty, 24, from Gweedore, and Daniel Scott, 23, from Gortahork.
Members of their families gathered at the scene on Sunday night and were comforted by a local priest.
The road was cordoned off for much of Monday as Garda forensic collision investigators examined the site.
The bodies of two of the men were due to be returned to their families on Monday evening, with the other two expected early on Tuesday.
Wakes are due to be held this week ahead of funeral services.
Gortahork parish priest Father Sean Gallagher told the Press Association he expects the local community will show the families enormous support during the wakes.
He described a feeling of disbelief in the area with three neighbouring parishes – Gortahork, Falcarragh and Gweedore – impacted.
“Everybody is numb,” he said. “There is complete disbelief at the loss of the four young men. It has been the only topic of conversation.
“There have been terrible events in other parts in Donegal, but this is the biggest loss of life in this area.
“But I know people will be good at showing the families support from the community, there will certainly be a lot of support for them during the wakes.”
The school three of the men attended, Pobalscoil Chloich Cheannfhaola in Falcarragh, expressed its sadness in a statement on its Facebook page.
“As a school community we are heartbroken and in shock over the tragic loss of the four young men who passed away, three of whom were past pupils of our school. We would like to extend our sympathy to all the families, friends and community at this sad time.”
Superintendent David Kelly told a press conference on Sunday night: “Garda attended the scene and found a single vehicle, a silver Toyota hatchback, at the scene.
“Four young men were receiving medical attention, also in attendance were the Donegal Fire and Rescue Service and the Ambulance Service.
“Unfortunately the four young men were pronounced dead at the scene.
“It was a difficult scene, as you can imagine, 9 o’clock at night, it was dark, people gathering, family members attended. It was a tragedy unfolding.
“I would like to offer our condolences to the families of the deceased, their friends and the local community.
“I’d also like to make an appeal for information. If anyone had seen the silver Toyota Corolla prior to 8.40pm or earlier in the evening to contact the gardai at Millford Garda station on 074 9153060.”
Father Brian O’Fearraigh, from Gweedore parish, comforted the families at the scene.
“We stood still and we spoke and we embraced. Sometimes in tragedies like this, words can fall silent and I think that your presence and the presence of one another is what’s important,” he told RTE.
“These communities have been plunged into the depths of grief and mourning in this most tragic of events.”
Mr Roarty was a well-known figure in GAA circles.
Dublin City University, where he had attended, tweeted that he and the other victims of the crash were being remembered during meetings and games.
Donegal Fine Gael public representative Joe McHugh tweeted: “Terrible news from West Donegal. Thoughts with families & friends of the 4 men & all who knew them.”
Sinn Fein representative Pearse Doherty said there was a “cloud of sadness” over the area.
Fianna Fail TD for Donegal Pat the Cope Gallagher said the community was “reeling in the aftermath of this tragedy”.
“It is shocking to think that four young men, with their whole lives ahead of them, have died in this horrific incident,” he said.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of these men. I know the community will rally around the families over the tough days and weeks ahead.”
A man in his 80s died following a separate road crash in Co Kilkenny on Sunday.
Moyagh Murdock, chief executive of the Road Safety Authority, said 10 people died on Irish roads in the last week.
“Our deepest sympathies are not only with the families of the bereaved who have lost their loved ones over the weekend but indeed with all the families of victims of road crashes so far this year,” she said.
“I would appeal to road users to slow down, drive at the right speed for the conditions and watch out for vulnerable road users. Don’t drive when impaired through drink, drugs or fatigue and always wear a seatbelt and ensure passengers are wearing theirs too, no matter how short the trip.”