Organisers of the Shell Donegal International Rally have cancelled the remaining stages of the event after a serious accident on Stage Two left two marshals dead. A spokeswoman for Letterkenny General Hospital confirmed earlier this afternoon that two people were killed in an accident sometime around 2.00pm and were pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

The spokeswoman confirmed that five people were initially taken to the hospital after a car left the road and careered into a crowd on the Ballybofey to Glenties road at Cloghan. The two male marshals were pronounced dead on arrival, while the remaining three men are in a stable condition. Their injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

The rally was halted at the end of Stage Two with Andrew Nesbitt leading the event in a Subaru.

The Donegal Motor Club, issued a statement this evening expressing sympathy for the families of the two men before announcing that the remaining two days of the event would be cancelled.

The statement read:

During the running of a stage of the Shell Donegal International Rally, an accident occurred at Stranabritick, Cloghan, Brockagh when a competing car left the road. Emergency services were immediately on the scene and the event was halted.

Despite their very best efforts, two people were fatally injured, and another was removed to Letterkenny General Hospital. The Organisers of the Rally have expressed their deepest sympathy to the families of the bereaved.

The remainder of the Donegal International Rally has been cancelled by the organisers. Shell, as sponsors, fully supports the decision of the Donegal Motor Club and their thoughts are with the family of the bereaved at this tragic time.

A statement on behalf of Motorsport Ireland, the sport's governing body, said:We are all deeply shocked and saddened by today's tragic news. Our initial thoughts and sympathies are very much with the families and friends of those who have lost their lives. Donegal Motor Club, the organisers of today's event, is the country's largest Rally Club.

Over the years they have had an excellent safety record and we know that the many volunteers who run the event are as shocked and upset as we are by this tragic accident. In the light of what has happened the Motor Sport Commission (Ruling Council) will meet in emergency session this Sunday. A further statement will issue following that meeting.

Filed by Shane Murray