Book of condolences for Joseph Sebastian and Reuven Simon opened in Derry
and live on Freeview channel 276
Mayor Duffy said: “It has been one of the worst tragedies that I have seen in a long time in this city. We have seen tragedies before but the way that this happened on the last Bank Holiday of the summer before the children were going back to school, it just seemed to be such an innocent, childhood thing to do to go out on their bikes and swim.
“It has touched everyone in the city in terms of the tragedy of it. We all can think of children and young people that we know that it could have been and I think that has touched everyone.
“I have seen the outpouring of collective grief within the city and people have been contacting me looking for an opportunity to express that grief and do something for the family. I suppose the only thing that I could do right now to allow that to happen is to open the book of condolences. This allows people to come in and write their messages of support, love, solidarity and just say how they are feeling. Hopefully, at some point, the families will be able to receive the books and know that everyone in the city is behind them and is thinking about them.
“I think, as a city, we will always do everything that we can. People ask me if I’m surprised that people come together and no, I’m not. This is Derry and this is what Derry people do. We want to reach out and we want to help. When you don’t know how to, that’s when it gets difficult but a book of condolences, a fundraiser, a vigil, all these things are ways that we can come together to support each other in what is an absolutely horrible time for the city.
“We will be here for the families. The Bishop has said that we need to listen because there’s probably no words at this point. So, we will listen and we will be here to provide all the support that the families need in the coming days, weeks and months.”
DUP MLA Gary Middleton said: “It’s such a devastating tragedy. I wanted to come along to pay my respects and send my condolences to the families. The outpouring of support from the city for the families has been amazing but not surprising because people do rally round in these situations. I hope it does bring some comfort to the families of the two young men.”
The book of condolences opened at 4pm today, Wednesday August 31 for the public in the foyer of the Guildhall.