Credit: Fr. Des

Cork priest killed by bus saved friend’s life during accident

The tragic accident occurred on Tuesday afternoon in Monkstown, Cork.

Fr. Con Cronin has been lauded for his selflessness in saving the life of his friend by pushing her out of the way of a bus in their parish of Passage West and Monkstown on Tuesday, just before he was tragically hit.

The 72-year-old priest was killed in the accident when Bus Éireann driver Mark Wills (53) is thought to have suffered a medical emergency at the wheel, causing him to lose control and run into the walking Fr. Cronin.

Mr. Wills, from Ballincollig, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Fr. Cronin, a Kiltegan priest who previously ministered in Nigeria, England and Scotland, had just finished his lunch at 1.35pm in a nearby pub with the local sacristan, a woman he would save minutes later, when the unthinkable happened.

The woman was uninjured after being pushed to safety, but paramedics who arrived at the scene could do nothing to save the life of Fr. Cronin, pronouncing him dead a short time later.

The bus had continued down the road, hitting several parked cars before coming to a stop.

Local independent councillor Marcia D’Alton told Independent.ie that it was “the most unbelievable tragedy.”

“He was a man the like of whom one would rarely meet in one’s lifetime. A spacious man, a man who had room for everybody in his heart, churchgoers and non-church goers alike, it made no difference,” she said.

“He was everybody’s genuine friend.”

Bishop Fintan Gavin expressed his “utter shock and sadness” at the untimely death of Fr. Cronin and the bus driver.

“Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go to Father Con’s family, his wide circle of friends, parishioners and his fellow priests in the Saint Patrick’s Missionary Society, Kiltegan, as well as the priests of the Diocese of Cork and Ross,” Bishop Gavin said.

“This tragic accident also leaves another family mourning the loss of a loved one and I extend my prayerful support to his (the driver’s) family also.

“Fr. Cronin will be remembered fondly for his unique sense of humour and his openness to all people.  He died on the day when the Gospel reminds us what happened the day Jesus asked Peter to step out of the boat and come to him across the water. Jesus called out to him, saying, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.”

Fr. Cronin was ordained in 1979 and 25 years in Nigeria, before eventually returning to Ireland in 2004.

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