TWO men who died when their car was swept away in a river on Christmas Day have been named locally in Co. Mayo.
Declan Davitt, 26, and Martin Needham, 27, were travelling in an SUV when it entered the Carrownisky River in Louisburgh at around 2.30am on Monday morning.
A third man, 19, managed to escape from the fully-submerged vehicle and raise the alarm.
The bodies of Mr Davitt and Mr Needham were later recovered from the 4x4 on Monday afternoon following a major search operation involving Garda divers and the Coastguard.
They were transported to Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar where post-mortem examinations are due to be carried out.
Posting on social media, local youth group Louisburgh Macra Na Feirme paid tribute to the tragic pair.
"Unbelievably numbing day today as we learned that these two fine men tragically were lost in an accident last night,” they wrote.
"Two valued members since the beginning since re-establishing.
"Sincere condolences to Martin and Declan's families through this terrible time, we're here for you if you need us.
"R.I.P. lads, two absolute gentlemen".
Mayo county councillor Christy Hyland said the men were well-known and from respected families in the area.
"Our thoughts go out to their loved ones, their families and friends," he told RTE.
"The whole community is in shock.
"This is a terrible tragedy to happen at any time, but especially on Christmas morning."
Gardaí have launched an investigation into the deaths, which occurred when gale force winds and water levels were high.
Initial reports suggested that the car became submerged as it crossed the Carrownisky, before being swept downstream.