'She was such a bright light': Tributes to Cork teen crash victim 

'She was such a bright light': Tributes to Cork teen crash victim 
Kimberly O'Connor (16) who was killed in car crash on Harbour View Road, Knocknaheeny, Cork city. Image used with permission of her family.

TRIBUTES have been paid to the teenager who tragically lost her life in a horrific car crash in Knocknaheeny.

16-year-old Kimberly O'Connor from Harbour View Road died on Wednesday night in a crash just a short distance from her home. Three males were also injured, one critically.

Her school principal, Phil O'Flynn said Kimberly was “so intelligent, so bright and so able.” She added: “She was full of fun. It is devastating. She was such a bright light.” She was a transition year student at the school.

She was a previous award winner at the UCC Plus + programme in March 2018 for excellence in maths, gaeilge and foreign languages.

Ms O'Flynn said one of the injured boys was also a current student of the school.

In a statement issued on Thursday, her mother Jennifer and other family members said she was popular and generous and “really loved by all her family, peers and teachers”.

The family added: “Our lives are shattered today and it's difficult to put into words how we are feeling.” They say they are praying for those injured in the crash “and ask for all your prayers at this very sad time.” 

Their statement opened: “Our Kimberly had a bright future and was a very kind and generous person who was loved by so many people. She had just returned from Kolkata in January with the HOPE Foundation with her school at Terence McSwiney College where she raised funds and participated in the HOPE U Can Paint Project there visiting and painting local orphanages in Kolkata.”

 “Our lives are shattered today and it's difficult to put into words how we are feeling.” 

They say they are praying for those injured in the crash “and ask for all your prayers at this very sad time.” The statement opened: “Our Kimberly had a bright future and was a very kind and generous person who was loved by so many people. She had just returned from Kolkata in January with the HOPE Foundation with her school at Terence McSwiney College where she raised funds and participated in the HOPE U Can Paint Project there visiting and painting local orphanages in Kolkata.” 

Terence MacSwiney Community College students been visiting Kolkata in India. This year (January 2020) Teachers Ms. McLoughlin & Ms. Keane brought 5 Transition Year students Kimberly (far left), Jamie, Rebecca, Sean & Katelynn to Kolkata.
Terence MacSwiney Community College students been visiting Kolkata in India. This year (January 2020) Teachers Ms. McLoughlin & Ms. Keane brought 5 Transition Year students Kimberly (far left), Jamie, Rebecca, Sean & Katelynn to Kolkata.

The statement also highlighted Kimberly's volunteer work: “She was also involved in an exchange programme with Cooperation Ireland visiting Belfast and engaging in cross border projects and relationships working with students in the North of Ireland.” 

The statement continued: “Kimberly had a great interest in drama and singing and was very talented and a great career lay ahead of her. She also played a leading role in two musicals in the Terence McSwiney Community College over the last 2 years with her friends and teachers.” 

Staff were on the campus of the school to support the students and their parents, as well as the local community.

The school was on mid-term break but reopened yesterday to provide support.

Fianna Fail's Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, who also lives on Harbour View Road, said he knows the family very well.

He described the tragedy as devastating for the entire community, adding: “There is a huge sense of sadness.” Sinn Fein's Cllr Kenneth Collins also knows the family and said: “It is horrific – another young person has lost their life on our roads again.” It is the third death on Cork's roads in recent days.

Gardai are continuing to investigate the accident. The scene was sealed off for several hours yesterday to allow a forensic investigation of the scene. The car involved in the crash will also be examined.

They are appealing to anyone who may have information regarding the collision, particularly any road users with camera footage who were travelling Harbour View Road between 11pm and 12.30am on on Wednesday night and yesterday morning to contact Gurranabraher Garda Station on ‪021 494 6200‬, the Garda Confidential Line on ‪1800 666 111‬ or any Garda Station.

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