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Families ‘devastated’ as tributes paid to crash victims

A brother of one of the victims of Wednesday night’s crash in Carlow has said family members are “devastated” by what has happened.

The three people killed in the crash, which happened at Leagh about 5km from Carlow town, have been formally identified and post-mortem examinations are expected to be completed tomorrow at University Hospital Waterford.

They have been named locally as 25-year-old Michael Kelly, from Nurney in Co Carlow, 21-year-old Daryl Culbert, from Kiltegan in Co Wicklow, and 19-year-old Katie Graham, from Arles in Co Laois.

“I think we’re all just devastated,” Michael Kelly’s brother Jordan said.

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“It’s kind of hard to believe, to be honest. Everyone that met Mike just loved him so much … From my own point of view he was a very good big brother to me.

“He was a role model, he didn’t drink, all he cared about was his family and he loved his cars.

“From a very young age we could see that cars were his calling. He was a very quiet person, he didn’t want to be the loudest person in the room, he was quite happy to blend into the back.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget him”.

“When he was with his friends and with his family, he just seemed to have a sense of glow about him.

“You’d be nearly lifted off the ground, he’d have a smile from ear to ear. Although himself and myself had different interests, we always managed to support each other, whether he was sitting in a GAA stand with me or I was standing on a racetrack with him.

“He loved nothing more than sitting with his friends in the shed or standing with them, talking about a car or fixing a car or even just getting a takeaway with them.”

Mr Kelly was a trainee electrician and went to school in Bagenalstown.

He was close friends with all of the victims of Wednesday night’s crash.

Jordan said he had met Daryl on multiple occasions.

He said of the aftermath of the crash: “I got the phone call the other morning and felt like I was in a movie.

“I didn’t believe that was the phone call I was getting. Unfortunately, they are the circumstances and I want to wish the other families the best because I’ve met them too.

“It’s hard to put it into words.”

He said he will remember Michael as a great big brother.

Michael Kelly’s brother Jordan said he was ‘a role model’

“He was there for me whenever I needed him, whether it was to make me laugh in a time of need or whether it was to throw his arm around me, or whether it was to tell me, you need to take a look at yourself, but I think I’ll remember him with a smile on his face, whether we were three-years-old on pedal tractors or whether we were driving down to Waterford to get a bag of chips.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget him.”

The garda investigation into all of the circumstances surrounding Wednesday night’s crash is continuing.

A technical examination of the scene has been completed by gardaí and an appeal has been made for witnesses, including anyone with dash-cam footage from the scene between 11.15pm and midnight on Wednesday night, to contact Carlow Garda Station on 059 913 6620, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any garda station.

A view of gardaí at the scene yesterday evening at Leagh

Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow-Kilkenny Jennifer Murnane-O’Connor said there was an urgency to improve road safety in the local area.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland she said: “We cannot have any more fatalities on our road, one is too many.

“We need to have proper infrastructure, proper safety and signage on our road. All these things will make such a huge difference

“These were beautiful young people in the prime of life … It’s awful. Our thoughts are with the families today, it’s just shocking.”

Yesterday, Garda Superintendent Anthony Farrell, who responded on the night, said it was a traumatic scene.

He said that his thoughts are with the families involved and gardaí who were first to arrive.

“In my 25 years of service, [this is] probably one of the most severe cases that I’ve attended. It was really, really traumatic,” he said.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also expressed his sadness over the news, saying “our thoughts and condolences go to the families affected, and the community as well.”

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