A number of people are reported to have been seriously injured in a horrific road crash near Portlaoise which has lead to a road closure which is expected to run into this afternoon.
The accident happened at Clonkeen on the main Portlaoise to Mountrath road in Co Laois at around 10pm last night, Thursday, May 18. Two cars were involved in the collision which occurred on the Mountrath side of the M7 motorway flyover bridge on, what is said locally, to be a straight stretch of road.
Two women one man were injured in the crash. All are understood to be 'seriously injured'. The driver of one car was a middle-aged woman while the occupants of the other car were a young couple. Both were adults. The cars were travelling in opposite directions.
It is understood that all of those injured are Laois natives from the Mountrath / Castletown area. The two younger victims are understood to be the more seriously injured.
It is not clear what the weather conditions were when the accident occurred but there had been torrential downpours in the Portlaoise area earlier that evening.
Emergency services were called to the scene at 10.12pm. Laois County Fire and Rescue crews from Portlaoise and Stradbally attended and had to use cutting equipment to remove the injured from the vehicles. The cars were extensively damaged in the smash.
Three ambulances and a number of paramedic emergency vehicles attended the scene. Two of those involved were taken to Tullamore Hospital, while another person was taken to Tallaght Hospital. All suffered extensive injuries but it is not yet clear if they are life threathine.
The R445 Portlaoise to Mountrath is expected to remain closed until lunchtime at Clonkeen just outside Portlaoise following the collision. The road is closed from the Clonkeen Roundbout near Portlaoise to Mountrath town in both directions. Garda accident investigators are on the scene.
Local diversions are in place. HGVs are advised to travel via Ballyfin.