A father and a young boy thought to be his son have died in a car crash after the man rowed with the child’s mother.
The alarm was raised at about 8.35am after the woman suffered a broken arm and a number of cuts in an incident at a house in Oola, on the Limerick-Tipperary border, gardai said.
The man, aged around 30 and from a family of Italian descent, left the house with the three-year-old boy and minutes later crashed his car into a lorry on the main N24.
The pair were pronounced dead at the scene.
The mangled wreckage of the Audi the father had been driving came to rest beside a ditch on one side of the road and the truck was in a field further down the road on the same side.
The child’s mother, understood to be in her 20s, is from the local area and had been living in Oola near both sets of grandparents.
The family was described by people in the area as quiet and respectable.
Limerick councillor Gerald Mitchell said the community of Oola was numbed and shocked at the events.
He said: “You lose a lot of life on the roads but unfortunately this was a child who had nothing to do with the circumstances.
“It’s always such a tragedy when someone loses their life but this is so unfortunate.
“I’d like to offer my sympathies to the immediate family and the man’s relatives and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
The N24 was closed for several hours while crash investigators carried out examinations.
Gardai said the woman who was injured before the road accident was taken from the house by ambulance to Limerick University Hospital. Her injuries were said to be not life-threatening.
The crash took place one mile from Brooks Bridge, on the Tipperary side of Pallasgreen on the main road to Limerick.
The driver of the truck was not injured and no-one else was involved.
Post-mortems on the father and son are expected to take place at Limerick University Hospital on Wednesday. A family liaison officer has been appointed to help relatives.
Gardai in Bruff, Co Limerick, are investigating and appealed for any witnesses or anyone who was on the stretch of road between 8am and 8.30am to come forward.