With the permission of the House and in agreement with the party leaders, I want to say a few words about the terrible bus crash yesterday and express sympathy for the victims.
Yesterday five young girls left their parents and homes to go to school. It was probably a normal day like any other school day but it was not to be so for very long. Those young women were not to return to their parents and their homes alive again. A terrible and sudden tragedy has been visited upon the families of Sinéad Ledwidge, Aimee McCabe, Deirdre Scanlon, Claire McCluskey and Lisa Callan. It is a tragedy shared by their school mates who were on that last fateful bus journey with them last evening. The local community and the whole country send their prayers and heartfelt sympathies to the families of these fine young girls.
Our thoughts too are with the injured who are not only physically but emotionally hurt by this awful event. Today is an occasion of grief for the dead and of solidarity with those who are left behind. I am sure all of us in the House are thinking of the principals of the schools, the teachers and the other pupils in the schools, the parents and everybody else who has been affected by this tragedy and, by extension, other children around the country to which this tragic event brings a certain fear today.
On my behalf and on behalf of the Government I express my sympathy again to the bereaved families and to the entire community around Kentstown and Navan.