A close-knit Irish town has been plunged into shock after an 11-year-old boy died following a collision with a car while he was cycling to school.
The boy was making his way to Tubber National School, about three miles outside his home town of Moate, Co Westmeath, when he was involved in a collision.
He had just started back at school in recent days.
The incident happened on the old Dublin-to-Galway road in Marshbrook, Co Offaly, at around 9.15am on Thursday.
The boy was pronounced dead at the scene.
It is understood the driver and sole occupant of the car involved in the crash was not injured.
Investigating gardai have appealed for witnesses to get in contact with them at Tullamore Garda station.
Michael O’Brien, a local councillor, said it was every parent’s worst nightmare.
“He was cycling to school, he went to Tubber National School just over the border in Co Westmeath,” he said.
“I know the family, they are very nice people from the town of Moate.
“They are well-known and respected and very much involved in the community.
“Everyone here is in shock – it is so sad.”
Mr O’Brien added: “He had just started back at school this week. It is every parent’s worst nightmare.”
The death brings to eight the number of cyclists killed on the country’s roads already this year – a rate of one a month.
Last week, a 13-year-old boy who was struck by a car while cycling in Drogheda died from his injuries in hospital.
The collision happened on the N51 Slane Road.
So far this year, 120 people have died in car crashes, including 17 pedestrians.