Bus driver who died in tragic accident in Co Cork praised as ‘loyal and fun’

Mark Wills died after suffering a suspected heart attack with a local priest also dying from injuries.
Bus driver who died in tragic accident in Co Cork praised as ‘loyal and fun’

By Cate McCurry, PA

A bus driver who died after suffering a heart attack at the wheel has been described as “loyal, fun and mischievous” and a man who put his life at risk during the pandemic.

Mark Wills died on Tuesday after suffering a suspected heart attack while driving for Bus Éireann and losing control of the bus in Monkstown, Co Cork.

The 51-year-old from Ballincollig died at the scene.

The bus also collided with local priest Fr Con Cronin who also died from his injuries at the scene.

Bus crash in Co Cork
Pallbearers carry the coffin from the hearse at the funeral of Mark Wills at the Church of Mary and St John in Ballincollig, Co Cork. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

The funeral of Mr Wills, a father-of-two, took place at St Mary and St John in Ballincollig on Saturday.

Paying tribute to his dad, Mr Wills’ son Cillian said his family are very proud of him. He also paid tribute to Fr Cronin’s family, saying they too are having a “tough time”.

“All the memories I made with (dad), the golf, going fishing when we were younger, was everything,” Cillian Wills added.

“I hope he is proud of us as we are of him. It’s tough but we will be strong for him as that is what he would have wanted.


“It’s hard but unfortunately it’s life, you can’t take anything for granted.

“I still can’t believe it, it’s surreal. It felt like a movie on Tuesday, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. But we will be strong for him.

“I love him and will never stop and I know he loved us.”

Scores of Mark’s Bus Éireann colleagues gathered outside St Mary and St John, while around 100 people lined the street as the hearse made its way to the church.

Fr Cian O’Sullivan told mourners that, by Tuesday evening, Mr Wills’ family’s world had completely changed.

“The normality and the privacy became surreal and very public with the passing of Mark,” Fr O’Sullivan added.

Bus crash in Co Cork
The cortège arrives for the funeral of Mark Wills at the Church of Mary and St John in Ballincollig, Co Cork. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

“Mark’s life, and particularly his role as a bus driver working for Bus Éireann, is one of those roles in our community which is so, so vital.

“Lots of people think they are important because of the jobs they do, but certainly the service that bus drivers, like Mark and his colleagues give, not just now but certainly during the start of our pandemic, going to work, putting their lives at risk, welcoming people into their bus.

“The work of a bus driver is not just getting from A to B.

“I looked up the route that Mark used to drive and you need to have certain qualities and certain patience to drive that route every day because if you were just doing it for a job, you would be finding it very, very difficult to say, I start here and I’m returning here.”

Among the gifts brought to the altar in recognition of Mark’s interests included a rugby tie, a Manchester United jersey and a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses.

Mr Wills’ brother Brian said that their lives changed forever. He thanked the emergency services and his brother’s colleagues at Bus Éireann.


“The support from all our friends, family and Mark’s friends has been amazing over the last few days,” Brian Wills added.

“To the Cronin family and the people of Passage West and Monkstown, they have been so good and we really are truly sorry for your loss.

“We heard stories about Fr Cronin yesterday, a great man, good fun and I think cut from the same cloth as Mark, by the sounds of it.

“To all of Mark’s colleagues and former colleagues, we are humbled by your support.

“The camaraderie and friendship and heartwarming stories that we have received from everyone in Bus Éireann has been fantastic and we are so lucky that Mark had that support.

“Mark was loyal, fun, mischievous, always had a glint in his eye. He was a fabulous son, brother and father. A loyal friend and loyal to anyone.

“He has left us with cherished memories that we will keep forever, with love, sadness and smiles. Cillian and Rebecca, he doted over and loved you with all his heart, there is no doubt about that.”

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