Funeral of County Limerick crash victim to take place today

THE funeral of 23-year-old Eric Fitzgerald, who was killed in a road crash in Croagh last week, is taking place this Monday lunchtime.

THE funeral of 23-year-old Eric Fitzgerald, who was killed in a road crash in Croagh last week, is taking place this Monday lunchtime.

Hundreds of people lined the approach to St John's Cathedral last night, as the remains of Mr Fitzgerald were moved from Crosses Funeral Home.

Dozens of floral tributes lay beneath a photograph of Eric, who was due to become a father for the second time. These included a tribute reading 'boyfriend', from devastated partner Kerry, as well as 'Dad', from his daughter Leah. Another floral tribute interspersed the name 'Eric' with the tricolor flag. Fr Austin McNamara led the brief Mass at the Cathedral.

Eric Fitzgerald, the third eldest of 12 children, had been working alongside his self-employed father Paul, laying tarmaadam for the past six years since he left school.

Eric was a cousin of Daniel Fitzgerald, the 24-year-old carpenter who was shot dead in the Ballysimon area of Limerick city last December. Paul said the family had moved from the city to Ballysimon 13 years ago "for a quiet life."

The Garda Ombudsman Commission has been called in to investigate the crash outside Croagh which took the lives of two men, while a third man is seriously injured.

The second fatality was 28-year-old Con Fitzharris, with an address in Dublin.

It is believed the two men died when the stolen BMW car in which they were travelling collided with a tree on the main N21 between Croagh and Rathkeale shortly after 9.30pm Tuesday last.

The driver, Andrew Nolan, 30, suffered serious head injuries and was taken to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Dooradoyle for treatment.

Gardai would not confirm reports that a replica firearm was found in the vehicle, which remained in the ditch overnight until being removed on Wednesday.

It is understood that the crash occurred after the occupants of the stolen car passed a Garda squad car on the main road, and drove away at speed after the gardai turned to follow them. The BMW collided with the tree a short distance later. Road conditions at the time were described as icy.

Eric Fitzgerald is survived by parents Paul and Dolie, partner Kerry, daughter Leah, six brothers, five sisters, uncles and aunts.