TRIBUTES have been paid to an Irish parish priest who died in an incident involving his car outside his parochial house on Wednesday afternoon.
Fr John Cummins, Parish Priest of Abbeyleix in Co. Laois, died in what has been described as a "freak accident".
The tragedy occurred shortly after 4pm after a vehicle went out of control in the driveway of the clergyman's parochial house on the Ballinakill Road.
Laois County Fire and Rescue Service confirmed it was called to the scene of a single-vehicle incident at 4.20pm.
The exact events surrounding the accident are not yet known.
Our deepest sympathy to the family of Fr. John Cummins and the people of Abbeyleix. What a loss to our Diocese. Rest In Peace John - your good deeds will accompany you into eternal life. RIP @KANDLEi pic.twitter.com/cpzBz5dEs7
— Portlaoise Parish (@PortlaoiseParis) 30 January 2019
Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin, described his passing as ‘" tremendous loss".
He said "It is with deep regret and sadness that I announce the sudden death of Fr John Cummins, Parish Priest of Abbeyleix, after a freak accident today with his car at the Parochial House.
"My thoughts and prayers are with Father John’s loving mother, brothers and sister, his priest colleagues throughout the Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin, his team in Faith Development Services and ACCORD, Carlow, and, of course, his many parishioners in Abbeyleix whom he held in his heart so dearly.
"At this time of profound heartbreak, I also remember his former colleagues at the Institute of Technology, Carlow, and the parishioners of Carlow Cathedral Parish.
"Father John was much loved in the diocese and is a tremendous loss to all of us. I will hold all of you in my prayers over these very difficult and lonely days."
The death of Fr John Cummins, Parish Priest in Abbeyleix following a car crash is so sad. Sincere sympathy to his family, friends and community. He was Chaplain in IT Carlow in previous years and he was as popular there as he was in Abbeyleix. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilís.
— Pauline Madigan (@paulinemadigan) 30 January 2019
Fr Paddy McCarthy, Parish Priest of Corpus Christi parish in Belfast, described Fr Cummins as a man of integrity.
He posted on Facebook: "He was an honourable and decent chap through and through. As a priest, his dedication and integrity left an impression upon all to whom he ministered."
Fr Cummins was aged in his 50s and had served as parish priest in Abbeyleix for the last year-and-a-half.
He was originally from Newbridge, Co. Kildare, where his family are very well-known and run a local business in the area.
Our deepest sympathies to the family of Fr John Cummins on his sudden passing. Fr John served on our Board of Management for many years and was a great friend to all in Bishop Foley NS. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
— Bishop Foley NS (@bishopfoleyns) 30 January 2019
Gardaí confirmed that they were called to the scene at around 4.30pm yesterday afternoon and that a man in his 50s had died.
A post-mortem examination is due to be carried out today.
Funeral details will be announced shortly.