‘Orla’s death has left us sad beyond words’

The late Orla O'Reilly
The late Orla O'Reilly

Tributes have been paid to Orla O’Reilly, the young woman tragically killed in a road traffic collision at Newtowncunningham on Friday.

Orla, who was in her 30s, was originally from Cavan but lived in Carnamoyle, Muff with her fiance Jimmy McKinney.

They were due to be married in October next year.

Orla, who will be laid to rest in her native Cavan today, was not just well known and regarded in Inishowen but also across Donegal through her work with the Donegal Youth Service.

She was a project worker with the LOFT in Letterkenny, a champion of youth mental health and was also instrumental in developing the Donegal Young Carers’ Group. Poignantly, she had met with a Journal reporter in Buncrana on Friday morning in a bid to raise even more awareness of the group in the Inishowen area.

Her dedication and commitment to it and the young people involved was evident and many of them paid tribute to her on social media.

The resounding sentiment was that Orla had been a huge support to them, helping them to believe in themselves and grasp the opportunities that came their way.

A statement from the Donegal Youth Service, which has opened a book of condolence at its headquarters in Letterkenny, said they were “devastated” by the sudden death of their friend and colleague.

They said: “Our sadness is beyond words and our thoughts and prayers are for her fiancé Jimmy, her family and her friends.

“Orla was an inspiration to us all and through her work, she helped and inspired so many young people.”

Orla, the daughter of Brian and Helen and sister to Maeve and Shane, was killed when a Honda Accord was in collision with her Skoda Octavia at around 2.40pm on Friday. Derry man Kevin McClintock, from Galliagh was also killed. A second man remains in a critical condition in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital.

One of the first on the scene on Friday was Donegal County Councillor Albert Doherty from Carndonagh.

Speaking to the Journal yesterday he said they were presented with a “horrific” scene but added that all those present did “the best that could be done” and “their utmost to look after the injured.” He paid tribute to all emergency services who attended the scene for “all they did”.

Orla will be laid to rest following Requiem Mass at 12 noon in St Mary’s Church, Ballyharry, Cavan.