Spate of tragedies: ‘a difficult month for city’

Searches are ongoing for Dean MIllar, while the remains of Jack Glenn have been recovered.

Searches are ongoing for Dean MIllar, while the remains of Jack Glenn have been recovered.

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The Mayor of Derry has spoken of the wave of tragedies that have overwhelmed the city and district over recent weeks.

Mayor Hilary McClintock spoke about the string of deaths and tragic events as she opened Derry & Strabane Council’s monthly meeting at the Guildhall on Thursday afternoon.

Under chairperson’s business, Mayor McClintock said: “It has been a difficult month for our city and district. There have been many deaths, losses, tragedies.”

Colr. McClintock passed her condolences to a number of councillors who have lost relatives over recent times.

“We think as well,” she said, “of the family of Ryan McBride, and following that very quickly was the death of Martin McGuinness, former Deputy First Minister.

“Then we had the recovery of John Concannon and we also had the recovery of Jack Glenn.”

The Mayor echoed the sentiments of Jack Glenn’s family when she said that this was a “bitter sweet occasion for both of these families.

“We are also mindful of a family in our city, the family of Dean Miller who are still waiting for their loved one to be returned.

“We remember all those who are hurting today.”

She also passed condolences to the family of young Buncrana woman Danielle McLaughlin who was buried today in the town, and made reference to those who lost their lives in the Westminster attack.

Sinn Fein Councillor Paul Fleming, speaking on behalf of his party, supported the Mayor’s comments.

“We want to add our condolences to all of those bereaved and who have suffered such tragedies. All of them have impacted on the people of this city, right across the four corners of it and further and beyond.”

SDLP Councillor John Boyle said: “On behalf of the SDLP we want to be associated with your earlier comments in relation to those bereaved.

“It is quite a list of local loss when you look at it.”

Referring to those who have lost their lives recently, Colr. Boyle said it was his party’s sincere hope that no similar situation ever arises in relation to a loss of a young life.

“It would be our desire to ensure this council do everything in our power to tackle the overarching and underlying difficulties that present for families in our city and I reference the Millar and Glenn families when I say that.

“We never want to see another family undergo the difficulties these two families have and are experiencing.”

He also reiterated his party’s condolences to the families of Ryan McBride and Martin McGuinness, and “all those impacted by the death and tragedy because as we all know bereavement is a deeply personal experience and is felt in different ways by all of us.

“We like to think as human beings we will be there to assist fellow human beings.”

Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly said: “Death is something no-one escapes and with it brings devastation and grief to those closest to the person”.

“My condolences and sympathy to all families who have lost loved ones. This city in particular has had to burden more than its fair share in recent times.”

Independent Councillors Darren O’Reilly and Sean Carr also expressed his condolences, while DUP Councillor Drew Thompson spoke of the grief being experienced by many, and said one tragedy that had touched him a lot was the death of Jack Glenn.

“I believe the testimony left to Jack is that he has united the people of this city who were out looking for him and I think we will find at his funeral this Saturday there will be a colossal amount of people there.”

He added that he was “also mindful of the searching that is going on for young Dean Millar.”

“I hope they get him as quickly as possible,” Colr. Thompson said.

UUP Councillor Derek Hussey also extended his condolences to bereaved families.