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Inishowen mourns eight deaths in crash

Communities in Inishowen, Co Donegal, are mourning the loss of eight men who died in a collision on Sunday, RTE reports.

Seven men in a black Volkswagen Passat, along with the driver of a second car, a red Toyota Corolla, were killed in the crash on the Buncrana to Clonmany road at around 10.40pm on Sunday.

The man driving the Toyota Corolla has been named as 66-year-old Hugh Friel.

Friel was returning home to Clonmany after an evening at bingo in Buncrana.

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In the other car were Paul Doherty, 19, Ciaran Sweeney, 19, Mark McLaughlin, 21, Eamonn McDaid, 22, Patrick PJ McLaughlin, 21, Damien McLaughlin, 21 and James McEleney, 23.

The driver of the Passat, Sean Kelly, was taken to Letterkenny General Hospital with serious injuries following the collision.

He is said to be “ill but stable” in hospital this morning.

It is believed that the Passat clipped a Renault Megane on the road to Buncrana before crashing head-on into the Corolla 150 meters away.

Last night, the remains of seven of the victims were released to their families.

Funerals for the eight men will take place over the next three days.

In Clonmany, where seven of the victims spent their last night enjoying the World Cup Final, people came out onto the streets to pay their respects as the hearses passed through the village.

Drop-in facilities are being set up in Buncrana and Clonmany, which organizers say will allow people to come and talk after going to the wakes of the deceased.

Fire service crews, paramedics and gardaí are said to be in shock after seeing the scale of death and devastation on the road.

Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny said it was the worst road accident he has dealt with in his 34 years in the force.

“This is a very, very sad and tragic and stressful time and we will do what we can to get those people through the next few days,” he said.

The accident happened on the R238, ten stretches of this route are classed as collision-prone zones on official garda files.

Locals described the road as notorious, with severe S-bends but gardaí said the accident happened on a short, straight stretch between two bends.

The road was dry at the time and the surface was described as good.