'A pillar of our community': Tributes as police name driver who died in Co. Antrim collision

'A pillar of our community': Tributes as police name driver who died in Co. Antrim collision

TRIBUTES have been paid to a community stalwart who sadly died following a two-vehicle collision in Co. Antrim this morning.

Belfast man Robert Laverty, 74, died in the collision that left a second man in a critical condition in hospital.

The incident occurred on the Moira Road in Crumlin at around 7.15am and involved a Ford Fiesta and a Renault Scenic.

"Sadly, the driver of the Renault Scenic died at the scene," said Detective Sergeant McIvor from the PSNI's Collision Investigation Unit.

"He has been named as 74-year-old Robert Laverty from the Belfast area.

"The driver of the Ford Fiesta, a man in his twenties, was taken to hospital for treatment to serious injuries, where he remains in a critical condition."

Mr Laverty was a popular figure in West Belfast, where he ran the Newsflash newsagents in the Dairy Farm shopping complex.

"Robert was a gentleman and gave us all plenty of memories and laughs over the years," read a Facebook post from the Jackpot Bingo Club, which is located at the centre.

Meanwhile, a statement from the Dairy Farm described Mr Laverty as 'a pillar of our community serving customers for nearly 30 years from the Newsflash'.

Paul Butler, former Sinn FĂ©in MLA for Lagan Valley, also paid tribute to his 'dear friend'.

PSNI officers attended the scene of the collision alongside members of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.

The Moira Road remains closed with diversions in place and motorists are asked to continue to avoid the area.

DS McIvor appealed to anyone who was travelling in the area around the time of the incident and and who may have dash-cam footage to contact police.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Collision Investigation Unit on 101.