A PRIEST who witnessed the aftermath of last night's car crash in Co. Donegal that claimed four young lives has described the scene as "the stuff of nightmares".
Gweedore Parish priest Fr Brian Ó’Fearraigh assisted at the scene of the single-vehicle collision near Magheraroarty, Gortahork at around 9pm on Sunday.
Mícheál Roarty (24) from Dunlewey, John Harley (24) from Falcarragh, Sean Harkin (22) from Falcarragh and Daniel Scott (early 20s) from Gortahork, were tragically pronounced dead at the scene by emergency services a short time later.
Fr Ó’Fearraigh said he received a telephone call at 9pm asking him to go to the scene, just a short distance away near a local bridge.
When he reached the brow of a hill he saw flashing blue emergency lights and "knew that down in the valley, tragedy had struck".
The scene of the fatal car collision in #donegal where four young men died in a single vehicle crash before 9pm last night. The road will remain closed until this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/5pqs8ES69A
— Louise Doyle (@LouiseDoyleDN) 28 January 2019
Speaking to Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1 this morning, the clergyman said: "It really was the stuff of nightmares. It makes no earthly sense whatsoever. All I could do was say a few prayers."
Fr Ó’Fearraigh stayed at the scene as distraught family members of the deceased arrived.
"When they arrived all I could do was embrace them," he added. "At a time like that words fall silent".
Fr Ó’Fearraigh also paid tribute to the emergency services and Gardaí involved for their commitment and professionalism in very difficult circumstances.
"Nothing can prepare anyone for what we witnessed last night. It is everyone's worst nightmare."
Another local priest, Fr Seán Ó Gallchóir, said two of the deceased were from his parish of Gortahurk, while the other two were from the neighbouring parishes of Falcarragh and Gweedore.
"We are all saddened, stunned, in total disbelief and totally numb," he told RTÉ's Morning Ireland programme.
"Their loss will be felt right across the community of the three parishes."
All of the young men were well-known in the local area, with one of them having played Gaelic football and soccer for local teams.
Last night, Fr Seán Ó Gallchóir visited the parents of his two deceased parishioners.
"The two boys were in the same class in primary school and in community school. They grew up together, they were friends all their lives," he added.
"It is beyond belief."