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'Bubbly, hardworking' Irishman killed in crash

'Bubbly, hardworking' Irishman killed in crash
Tim O'Dwyer

As they were preparing to celebrate Christmas Day, a family on the other side of the world received the worst possible news about their beloved son.

The family of Irish national Tim O'Dwyer learned the 20-year-old had died in a Christmas Day crash on the Methven Highway, near Ashburton.

It's news that has left his family back in County Clare, in the west of Ireland, absolutely devastated.

O'Dwyer's mum, Carolyn O'Dwyer, told the Guardian her son travelled to New Zealand in September to follow his dreams of working with silage contractors.

"He had an amazing three months, he loved every minute and he had many, many wonderful friends while he was there from New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the UK and France.

"We are devastated by the news but we are forever grateful for the experience he received from Gavin's Contracting in Hamilton and particularly Nagle Contracting in Methven, who he had recently started working for."

She said Pa Nagle, of Nagle Contracting, had been "unbelievably supportive"

"He's a native of west Clare himself and we don't know what we would do without him and his team, who are dealing with everything on our behalf and taking Tim home for us."

Nagle told the Guardian O'Dwyer had been a great asset to the team.

"He was fun, bubbly, hardworking, it's a terrible tragedy.

"We just want to send our condolences from all the Nagle team."

Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed it was aware of the incident and was ready to provide consular assistance to O'Dwyer's family, if requested.

His death was the fifth on Ashburton District roads this year, and the third since November.

That was up from three in total in 2022.

On February 18, Carla Murray, 37, of Christchurch was killed in a crash at the intersection of Withells Road and Rangitata Highway. Three others were seriously injured in the incident.

In July, Timaru man Vishwam Sankar, 36, was killed when his car collided with a truck at the intersection of Hackthorne and Maronan Valetta roads.

Sankar and his family had moved to New Zealand from the US last year and had celebrated the birth of their second child three weeks before the tragic accident.

On November 11, a person was killed near Rakaia after a crash between a truck and a car.

And on December 3, a person died after a quad bike rolled near Methven.

Names have not been released for either of those crashes.

The national road toll for 2023 as of yesterday was 334, down from 366 in 2022.

By Daisy Hudson