A man has been killed in a road crash, just hours before he was due to celebrate his wedding nuptials.
The deceased, who was named locally as Myles “Miley” Harty (20), from Askeaton, Co Limerick, died instantly when the car he was a front seat passenger in left the road and hit a pole, at around 1am, at Cragmore, on the Askeaton to Rathkeale Road.
A teenager, who gardai believe was driving the car, was arrested by gardaí at the scene, on suspicion of committing an offence under the Road Traffic Act.
A third man, who was a rear seat passenger in the car — a silver coloured Skoda hatchback — was taken by ambulance from the scene to University Hospital Limerick with what gardaí said were “non life-threatening” injuries.
Mr Harty was due to get married at St Munchin’s Church in Limerick City this Saturday afternoon.
His heartbroken fiancée was being comforted by family and friends. The wider Traveller community, of which Mr Harty was a member of, has been plunged into deep sadness, and his wide circle of friends and relations were trying to come to terms with his sudden death.
Fr Seán Ó’Longaigh, Askeaton Parish Priest, said Mr Harty was well-known in his rural west Limerick community.
Fr Ó’Longaigh said the town was “in shock”.
“It’s very sad for the families, they are now switching from a wedding to a funeral. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, naturally.
“Myles was a young person who grew up locally, he went to the local school, he’d have an awful lot of relations around Askeaton. He was due to get married in Limerick today, yes, the family must be in bits.
Mr Harty, 20, was due to marry Kate Qulligan, who hails from High Road, Thomondgate, Limerick city.
Ms Quilligan was supported by hundreds of family and friends, including those who should have been celebrating the couple’s wedding, as they mourned outside the church.
A sound system played music and songs while many wept outside the church.
Dozens of blue heart-shaped balloons which read “King For A Day” and “20”, were released into the sky above the church grounds.
Just hours before her fiancé’s death, Ms Quilligan posted a photograph on Facebook of herself beside a message for Mr Harty, that read: “Can’t believe I’m marrying my best friend in the whole world in the morning. See you at the altar babes. Husband and wife in the morning, our fairytale has finally come.”
Later, Ms Quilligan informed loved ones in a public Facebook post that she would be releasing balloons at the church at 3pm, the same time was due to marry Mr Harty, “because that’s where we should be celebrating the best day of our life at that church but instead it’s the worst”.
She added: “I love you forever, it will always be me and you, no matter what. Love you unconditionally my gentle giant. You didn’t deserve this my handsome baby boy.”
John Costelloe, a family friend and a local Sinn Féin Councillor, said he wanted to pass on his sympathies to both families.
“I just want to give my condolences to Kate’s family and the deceased’s family. I know Kate and her mum Tina, and her father Connie, they are a very well-known and respected family here in Thomondgate; it’s an awful tragedy for them, a very difficult time,” Mr Costelloe added.
Others took to social media to pass on their sympathies to Ms Quilligan and pay tribute to Mr Harty.
“So sorry for your loss Kate, Mylie R.I.P.,” wrote one.
“My heart is broke for you Kate,” said another.
“I’ve yet to witness sadder news, I really can’t imagine what you are going through. Thinking of you, your family, and Miley’s family, rest in peace Miley,” another wrote.
Gardaí are investigating the circumstances surrounding the fatal single vehicle collision and have appealed for witnesses and any dash cam footage from other vehicles that were travelling along the R518 Askeaton to Rathkeale route around the time of the collision.
A spokesman said: “Gardaí are investigating a fatal single vehicle road traffic collision which occurred on the R518 Askeaton to Rathkeale Road, Co. Limerick at approximately 1:00am on the 21st August 2021. A male passenger (20s) in the vehicle was pronounced deceased at the scene and has been removed to University Hospital Limerick for post mortem, another male passenger (20s) was taken to UHL to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.
“The driver of the vehicle (late teens) was arrested at the scene and conveyed to Henry Street Garda Station where he is currently detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984.
“The road is currently closed and Forensic Collision Investigators are conducting a technical examination of the scene. Local diversions are in place.”
Appealing for witnesses the spokesman said: “Gardaí are also appealing to any road users who were travelling on the R518 at Cragmore Askeaton at the time and who may have camera footage (including dash-cam) to make this footage available to Gardaí.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Henry Street Garda Station on 01 8010600, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.