THREE elderly women have been killed and a fourth badly injured in a horrific head-on traffic collision in Co. Limerick.
The two-car crash occurred on the N69 just outside Loughill village in West Limerick at approximately 6.30pm on Thursday evening.
The sole occupant of one of the vehicles, a woman aged in her 70s, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver and passenger of the second car, two women also in their 70s, were too pronounced dead at the scene of the collision.
A third occupant of the second car, another woman in her 70s, was airlifted to University Hospital Limerick (UHL) with serious injuries but is expected to survive.
Speaking last night, local Fine Gael councillor John Sheahan said the community was "in deep shock with the news that came from Loughill this evening and filtered through to us a little after 7pm".
He added: "Our thoughts are with all the families involved.
"Wherever there are fatalities on our roads there are families left in deep and stricken grief, and our sympathies are with them.
"It's a very straight stretch of road, and I'm bemused as to what might have happened."
Gardaí have appealed for any witnesses to the tragic crash to come forward.
In a statement, a Garda spokesperson said: "The road is currently closed to facilitate a Garda forensic collision examination and local diversions are in place.
"Gardaí are appealing for anyone with information in relation to this collision or anyone who may have dash cam footage to contact Newcastle West Garda Station on 069-20650, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station."