28 August 2023

Friends of students killed in crash say ‘so hard to believe they are gone’

28 August 2023

Classmates of two Leaving Certificate students killed in a crash which claimed the lives of four people in Co Tipperary have said “the little bit of peace is knowing that they’re together”.

Zoey Coffey and Grace McSweeney were killed in Friday’s crash in Clonmel alongside Grace’s brother Luke McSweeney and Nicole Murphy.

The three young women were aged 18 while Mr McSweeney was aged 24.

The youngsters were on their way to celebrate their Leaving Cert exam results, which they had received earlier in the day.

Classmates of Ms McSweeney and Ms Coffey, who had attended Presentation Secondary School, said the day will be remembered as the day “we lost four amazing people in our community”.

It's just so upsetting to see that their lives are taken so soon in such a tragic way and we're going to miss them so much, we're just all in shock

Speaking to RTE’s Morning Ireland, 19-year-old Enya Galligan said: “The little bit of peace is knowing that they’re together. Zoey and Grace were attached at the hip. Like, when there was one, there was the other, so just the peace knowing they are together now.

“Zoey lit up every room she walked into. She was the life and the soul of the party. She was just like a mammy to us all. If we ever needed anything, go to her.

“And Grace, she was like the hardest-working person I think I’ve ever met in my life.

“It’s just so upsetting to see that their lives are taken so soon in such a tragic way and we’re going to miss them so much, we’re just all in shock.”

Caoilfhionn Conway said: “If you were ever upset, they were the first to be there for you – always with a smile on their face.

“You couldn’t have a bad word to say about them, the two loveliest girls you could meet.”

Laura Cooney, 19, said: “They had such a positive impact and they were so kind to everyone, and they never had any issue or anything or anyone.

“It is so hard to believe they are gone.”

Mr McSweeney had attended CBS High School and Ms Murphy had attended Loreto Secondary School in Clonmel.

Asked about the impact on Leaving Certificate students who had received their results on the day the crash happened, Ms Galligan added: “I haven’t even thought about [the results] since, honestly, and I think it just proves that like family, friends, your health are everything.

“Like if it went your way, if it didn’t go your way, at the end of the day, all we need is each other. It puts things into perspective. Life’s too short to be worrying about things – a few numbers on a piece of paper, genuinely.

“It’s just such a tragic day. This was meant to be the best day of their lives and it’s just turned, took a turn for the worst for us all.

“We’ll never remember this as the day we got our results, we’ll remember the day we lost four amazing people in our community.”

A cousin of the McSweeney siblings said the family found “some small encouragement” in the crowds which attended a vigil.

Harry Phelan told RTE News: “They’ve really good people around them to support them and get them through. They can’t really put into words, and I suppose it hasn’t really hit them yet, and it will be a very tough days and years ahead.”

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