'He was absolutely adored': Tributes paid to Cork priest killed along with bus driver in horror collision

'He was absolutely adored': Tributes paid to Cork priest killed along with bus driver in horror collision

Fr. Con Cronin, CC in the Lower Harbour Parishes of Passage West and Monkstown who died in a fatal road traffic accident in Monkstown, Cork.

A harbour community in Cork is in mourning after popular local priest Fr Con Cronin was killed after being hit by a bus in Monkstown today.

Gardaí said the incident occurred after a number of parked cars were hit by the vehicle. The driver of the bus, a man in his 50s, was also killed in the collision. It is believed the driver may have suffered a medical trauma that caused him to lose control of the vehicle.

The incident occurred on the Strand Road which links the village with Passage West. 

Local priest, Fr Con, who was in his 60s, was a much-loved member of the local community. 

The Bishop of Cork and Ross, Fintan Gavin said the untimely death of Fr Cronin came with utter shock and sadness.

“Fr Con has served in the Harbour Parishes since 2012 establishing a warm rapport both pastorally and personally with all to whom he ministered and all who had contact with him.

He will be remembered fondly for his unique sense of humour and his openness to all people.”

A Bus Eireann spokesperson said: "Bus Éireann extends the deepest sympathies of the entire company to the family and friends of the two people who died...one of them being a long-standing and greatly valued employee based at the Capwell Depot."

Passage West Councillor Marcia D’Alton said Fr Con was extremely non-judgemental and had room in his heart for everyone.

“He was absolutely adored. He had an extraordinary energy and a way with people. He always made you smile and he connected with people in a way I have never ever seen before, young and old. He was much more than a priest. 

He used his role to deliver love and kindness that he felt the world should be full of. It didn’t matter to him what church a person was part of.” 

The scene of a fatal road traffic accident where a bus collided with a number of cars in Monkstown, Cork Harbour. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
The scene of a fatal road traffic accident where a bus collided with a number of cars in Monkstown, Cork Harbour. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Mrs D’Alton said Fr Con did a lot of visiting with local people in the Harbour area and said he always brought people comfort.

“It will be difficult to fill his shoes. It was a privilege to know him.

Councillor Seamus McGrath said the loss of Fr Con would be “deeply felt” by the community.

“He was a good-natured man, a real character, a trooper. He was very positive and upbeat. He was a social man who always made himself available, a true man of the community. He was very approachable, you could talk to him about anything.” 

Mr McGrath also said Fr Con was a character who was well able to pass a joke.

“It is truly shocking for the community, his loss will be deeply felt. My sympathies are with his family.” 

During the lockdowns, in the midst of the pandemic, Fr Con interviewed local members of the community and shared the conversations on the Harbour Parishes Facebook page in order to keep people in the loop and bring some local chat into their homes.

The sociable priest interviewed Councillor McGrath as part of the series and the Carrigaline representatice said the initiative was very well received.

“There were a lot of comments from people online, saying they really enjoyed the conversations and it was very interesting and entertaining.” 

Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath also mourned the great loss of a pillar of the community, posting on Facebook: “The lower harbour community is very close-knit and will rally round in every possible way. An enormous void has been left in the community after this terrible accident.” 

Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire also took time to acknowledge the tragedy he said: “A devastating blow to the community in Monkstown and Passage West. RIP to the pedestrian and driver.” 

Fr Con Cronin, who grew up in Bantry, had been serving in the Lower Harbour Parishes of Passage West and Monkstown since 2012, after returning from Africa where he had been on the Missions.

Ordained in 1979, Fr Con had been in the priesthood for 42 years. Fr Con was in Passage West and Monkstown alongside Fr Sean O’Sullivan.

Fr Con was described as a “natural extrovert” who used to “tell it as it should be”. A local Monkstown resident called Fr Con ‘the people’s priest’ who was most beloved.

“He was an ordinary man, there is great sadness in the community, you couldn’t overestimate his popularity.”

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