The names of the two Gardaí killed this morning have been released. Garda Anthony Tighe, 53, and Garda Michael Padden, 27, were killed in a collision with a stolen car in Stillorgan this morning. They were both stationed at Donnybrook Garda Station.

Tony Tighe, of Ranelagh, was married with four children. He had been a garda since 1970. Garda Padden, from Belmullet in County Mayo, joined the force in 1998. Garda Tighe was driving the patrol car.

Senior Gardaí have said that the two officers were trying to ensure that innocent drivers did not stray into the path of a stolen car when their patrol car was hit by the vehicle.

Speaking at a news conference, Superintendent John Farrelly said the stolen black Mazda car had been travelling at horrifically high speeds before the fatal crash. He said that the stricken patrol car was in the process of turning at the junction of the Stillorgan dual carriageway and Fosters Avenue when it was struck.

Gardaí are still waiting to question two young men who were in the Mazda sports car which crashed into the patrol car. They are still being treated for their injuries in St James' Hospital. One of them was arrested at the scene after he tried to flee.

Superintendent Farrelly also gave more details of events before the fatal crash. He said the stolen car had earlier driven between two cars at another junction, colliding with one of them. One of the drivers of those cars has come forward. The Gardaí want to speak to the second driver.

Gardaí are also appealing for anyone who saw a red Honda Civic with a 92 D registration and tinted windows in the Dalkey area at around 6am to come forward. The black Mazda sports car involved in the crash was stolen in Dalkey during two burglaries. Any witnesses are asked to call an incident room in Blackrock Garda Station at (01) 666 5250.

Gardaí are also questioning two young men in Kevin Street Garda Station after seizing a stolen car. They are trying to establish if they have any connection with this morning's events.

The Minister for Justice, John O'Donoghue, extended his deepest sympathy and condolences to the families and colleagues of the two Gardaí, as did PJ Stone, General Secretary of the Garda Representative Association. Mr Stone said he was deeply shocked by the deaths. President Mary McAleese also expressed her sadness at the deaths.