One of Derry’s best known political families has been plunged into mourning with the sudden death of Gabrielle Durkan, sister of local SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan and niece of Foyle MP Mark Durkan.
Ms Durkan, a nurse at Altnagelvin Hospital, died suddenly at her home in Edanmount Park in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Gabrielle, known as Gay to her friends and family, is the daughter of local businessman Patrick Durkan and his wife, also called Gay.
This is the second time tragedy has visited the Durkan family. In 2000, Gabrielle’s 18-year-old sister, Deirdre was tragically killed in a road traffic accident.
As the news spread of Gabrielle’s tragic passing, the 28-year-old’s Facebook page was flooded with messages from shocked friends and colleagues. One friend wrote: “Was such a pleasure to have known and worked with u. U truly r a beautiful soul.”
Another wrote: “I just can’t believe it. Still wishing it wasn’t true. You were truly an amazing person Gay.”
A third said: “Totally lost for words :( heaven has got a real angel now! x” while another said: “God must have needed a special angel, coz he took you away from us. Rest peacefully wee angel, love you to bits xxx”
Gabrielle will be laid to rest following Requiem Mass on Thursday morning at 11.30am in St. Eugene’s Cathedral.
Her funeral will leave her home at 9 Edanmount Park at 10.50 with interment afterwards in the City Cemetery.
Gabrielle is survived by her grieving parents, Patrick and Gay and her siblings Brendan, Mark, Mary and Isobel.
Both St Mary’s College and St Joseph’s Boys’ Schools in Derry have postponed their annual prizegiving ceremonies which were to be held on Thursday, as a mark of respect to the Durkan family. Gabrielle’s parents Gay and Patrick Durkan each chair the Board of Governors of the respective schools.