Gardaí have confirmed that a teenage girl who was seriously injured in a fatal road crash in Co Kilkenny yesterday was a victim sitting in the car when it was stolen.

The 16-year-old girl was in the rear of the car when her father parked it and got out briefly on Green Street in Kilkenny city yesterday afternoon.

A man then stole the car, while the girl was still sitting in the back, at around 3.30pm.

Approximately 25 minutes later, the car was involved in a two-car crash between Kilkenny city and Ballyragget.

Dale Fogarty, who was in his 30s, was brought to St Luke's General Hospital Kilkenny where he was pronounced dead.

Dale Fogarty was aged in his 30s

The teenage girl was taken by air ambulance to University Waterford Hospital with serious injuries.

The three occupants of the second car, two men in their 40s and 60s, and a woman in her 40s, were also taken to St Luke's for treatment.

It is believed that their injuries are non-life threatening.

A forensic examination of the crime scene has been completed and traffic diversions in the area have been lifted.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses, especially those with dash-cam footage, who were travelling on the N77 between Kilkenny town and Ballyragget between 3.15pm and 4pm, and the Green Street area between 3pm and 3.30pm.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Kilkenny Garda Station on 056 7775000, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any garda station.

Speaking at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis today, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said: "Investigations are still ongoing into this tragic incident. I think we need to get to the bottom and understand exactly what was happening.

"It's a very devastating incident to happen, full stop. No doubt, very terrifying for the people involved, and in particular the woman involved.

"We will give the gardaí any support or help in their investigation and obviously any resources they need."

Mayor of Kilkenny Cllr David Fitzgerald described the incident as "an exceptional tragic event."

He commended the emergency services who he said: "Responded so quickly and so thoroughly in the midst of an awful tragedy."

Mr Fitzgerald said that there were "challenges on that particular stretch of road" and that there had been "seven fatalities on this road in recent decades".

However, he said that the "exceptional circumstances of what happened yesterday really make this not just a road traffic event, but something much more tragic and much more difficult for people to understand and to get their heads around".

Mr Fitzgerald said that the victims who were caught up in the car theft and the subsequent crash had been "just going about their normal daily lives".

"Kilkenny has a wonderful strong community... the support of everybody will be there for the families involved," he said.

Additional reporting Paul Cunningham