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Large crowds attend service for grandparents and boy killed in Cashel crash

Large crowds have attend a service held in memory of the three-year-old boy and his grandparents killed in a car crash in Co Tipperary.

Thomas O’Reilly, 45, his wife Bridget O’Reilly, 46, and Tom O’Reilly died on Tuesday night when the car they were travelling in hit a wall in the Windmill-Knockbulloge area of Cashel.

The boy’s parents, both aged 22, were seriously injured in the crash and are receiving treatment in hospital.

Father Enda Brady said the family are very well known in the area, and are almost seen as “the elders in the community”, which made the community’s grief greater.

Speaking after the service, Fr Brady said it was “amazing” to see the large crowds fill the church to pay their respects and support the family.

“We have to remember that Tom and Bridget were the parents of 10 children and some of them are still school-going children,” he said.

“They need our support, our prayers at this time.”

A joint funeral mass will be held for Thomas, Bridget and Tom O’Reilly at St John the Baptist Church at 2pm on Sunday.

Cashel car crash vigil
People attend a vigil at St John the Baptist Church in Cashel (Brian Lawless/PA)

The service, which was held in St John the Baptist Church in Cashel, featured music from the Cashel Community School Choir.

Fr Brady told the hundreds of people gathered that the community did not know what to say in the wake of the “awful event on Tuesday night”, but wanted to express their support to the O’Reilly family.

Thomas O’Reilly’s brother Michael lit three candles placed in front of the altar in memory of his three family members.

A student of Cashel Community School lit a candle for those who are receiving treatment in hospital.

Cashel car crash vigil
Thomas O’Reilly’s brother Michael lights a candle during a vigil at St John the Baptist Church in Cashel (Brian Lawless/PA)

Will Ryan, principal of St John the Baptist boys school, said that the community was “united in grief” after the deaths of “young Tom” and his two grandparents.

Mr Ryan also asked for a speedy recovery for Tom’s parents.

Mary Andrews, principal of St John the Baptist Girls School, shared her sympathies with the O’Reilly family, and hoped that “the support of so many (would) bring them through these difficult days, weeks and months ahead”.

People were also asked to say a prayer for the four young people who died in the Clonmel crash at a vigil held for the family affected by the crash in Cashel on Tuesday night.

The funeral of Nicole Murphy was held on Thursday morning, while a funeral service for siblings Grace and Luke McSweeney are to be held on Friday, and a funeral will be held for Zoey Coffey on Saturday.

“We pray too for Nicole Murphy, Zoey Coffey, Grace McSweeney and Luke McSweeney, all who died so tragically in Clonmel on Friday. May they rest in peace,” Ms Andrews said.

Gratitude was also expressed for the emergency service members who attended the scene of the Cashel crash on Tuesday.

Reverend James Mulhall, councillor and local mayor Declan Burgess and local TD Martin Browne were also among those who spoke at the service.

At its conclusion, members of the community queued up to shake hands with the family and express their condolences.

“It is a tribute to the people of the town and of course, they’re coming to pay tribute to the O’Reilly family,” Fr Brady said afterwards.

“I think it was a wonderful occasion for them to express their sympathy. Lots of people don’t know what to say and I think being present at an occasion like this really, really helped them to express their grief and to sympathise with the family, to pray for those who have died and to remember those who are in hospital injured at this time.”

Cashel car crash vigil
People attend a vigil at St John the Baptist Church in Cashel (Brian Lawless/PA)

He said he hoped the service would help the family “on some level”, but added “this is going to take some time” to grieve the loss of three family members.

“The loss of any family member is a very difficult occasion, but to lose a three-year-old child among losing two adults, is just absolutely tragic altogether.

“So I really hope that this occasion will help on some level in the days and weeks, the months ahead.

“When I approached (the family) yesterday about having this, they were a little bit reluctant at the beginning, but I think the amount of the family that were here was a tribute to the ceremony itself.

“From day one, when they heard of the accident and when they heard the identities of those who had died, they came together. It didn’t make any difference what part of the community that people were from.

“I really, really hope that this has done something for the family, and for all the travelling community.”