The deaths of three members of  a family – a mother and her two young daughters – in a road accident on the N17 near Claremorris, Co. Mayo, was described as “an unspeakable tragedy” by a coroner today.

Pat O’Connor, Coroner for the District of Mayo, presided over the opening of an inquest into the deaths of Una Bowden (47) and her student daughters, Saoirse ((10) and Ciara (14).

The Bowdens, who lived near Moycullen, Co. Galway, died in a collision on the N17 near Claremorris, last March.

Medical evidence was given to a brief hearing this morning about the identities of the deceased and the medical cause of their deaths.

The substantive inquest hearing was adjourned by the coroner pending the outcome of a Garda investigation.

All three of the accident victim could only be identified from the results of DNA tests.

Consultant pathologist Dr. Fadel Bennani testified that the cause of death of all three victims was extensive head and body injuries due to a road traffic accident.

Before adjourning to an unspecified date to allow Gardaí to continue their investigations into the cause of the accident, Coroner O’Connor described the triple deaths as “an unspeakable tragedy”.

The coroner said the tragedy again focused attention on the safety of the N17 in south Mayo, what should be regarded as one of the best roads in the region.

“It is an unspeakable tragedy for the family and the community to lose three young people in the prime of their lives”, Mr. O’Connor commented.

The coroner commended first responders who attended the scene and others who assisted as well as medical and mortuary staff at MUH including Dr. Bennani.

Echoing the coroner’s comments, Sergeant Sean McHale also said it had been a very traumatic experience for those motorists who came on the scene of the accident.

He said that the loss of Saoirse and Ciara was being deeply felt by their schoolpals in Moycullen.


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