By Eoin Kelleher
A TEENAGE girl who was looking forward to completing her Leaving Cert this year in Cashel Community School, has died tragically following a fatal road crash in Galway.
Claire Prendergast (17), from Dangan near Golden, was enjoying the long weekend with two friends when the Nissan Micra she was travelling in collided with a Mercedes Benz coming in the opposite direction, at Thornfield, Portumna. The crash took place at 11.25am on Monday. Claire was pronounced dead at the scene, while two other female occupants of the same vehicle were removed to University College Hospital Galway with serious injuries. Claire was a front seat passenger in the Micra. Gardai are continuing to investigate the cause of the crash.
There were four people in the second car, two men and two children, all members of the same family. They did not sustain life-threatening injuries. The road was closed for forensic investigations. It’s understood Claire was going to visit a school friend in Galway City.
Principal of Cashel Community School, Mr Eddie Morrissey, said Claire had a keen interest in social entrepreneurship. The 17-year-old had recently taken part in a school project where she interviewed older people about their memories of Cashel and Golden in years gone by.
“It’s a terrible shock for the entire school community, and especially Claire’s classmates in Sixth Year,” said Mr Morrissey. “And for her wide circle of friends.”
Claire was one of six students who took part in the Young Social Innovators Project. The team produced a book called “A Blast from the Past”, a compilation of nostalgia, memories, and recollections from Senior Citizens about their formative years in Cashel and beyond. Claire and the other students interviewed the contributors, before publishing the book last January.
The team qualified from the Regional Finals in Cork to take part in the National Finals in Dublin. Claire also had a keen interest in taking part in numerous other Transition Year programmes, added Mr Morrissey. “She also enjoyed volunteering at St Patrick’s Hospital here in town. She was a very pleasant, friendly girl, who always had a smile on her face, and very popular among her peer group.”
Claire is survived by her father Richard, mother Chris, and her brother Michael, a Transition Year student of Cashel Community School. The Funeral Mass will take place in the Blessed Sacrament Church in Golden on Thursday at 12 noon, followed by interment in Dangan Cemetery. Golden Parish Priest Fr Pat O’Gorman described Claire as an outgoing girl, who volunteered with the Tidy Towns Committee in Golden.