Prayer Vigil held for Derry native John Kelly in his home town of Buncrana, Donegal

There has been a large turnout tonight at a prayer vigil for the Derry man who became a beloved member of the community in his adopted home town of Buncrana in Donegal.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 15th January 2022, 10:15 pm
The Very Reverend Francis Bradley PP Buncrana leads a prayer service at St Oran’s National School in Cockhill on Saturday evening for John Kelly. Photo: George Sweeney.  DER2202GS – 114
The Very Reverend Francis Bradley PP Buncrana leads a prayer service at St Oran’s National School in Cockhill on Saturday evening for John Kelly. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2202GS – 114

Many heartfelt tributes have been paid to John Kelly as the community came to terms with the news of his death.

Mr Kelly was named locally earlier today after a man was found deceased in the town on Friday evening.

Local people gathered tonight in the grounds of St Oran’s School in Buncrana, where Mr Kelly was the caretaker, following an open invitiation to the school and wider community by the local parents’ association as they paid tribute to him.

Sign up to our daily Derry Journal Today newsletter

Grieving family members and relatives attend the vigil and prayer service at St Oran’s National School in Cockhill on Saturday evening for John Kelly. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2202GS – 115

Those gathered were led in prayers by local parish priest Fr Francis Bradley.

People have also been signing a Book of Condolence which has been opened at the school.

In a post on Facebook, local TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn this evening said: “The community of Buncrana is heartbroken at the loss of John Kelly.

“John was a beloved caretaker at St Oran’s School, Cockhill for 20 years and this evening the school organised a vigil for him attended by hundreds of children, parents and teachers.

A Mass card at the prayer service at St Oran’s National School in Cockhill on Saturday evening for John Kelly. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2202GS – 116

“A book of condolences will be open to sign at the school tomorrow between 12 and 6pm.

“Our deepest sympathy to his family and friends. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

Many who knew Mr Kelly have paid tribute to him online throughout the course of today.

A post-mortem was due to be carried out today, gardai have said.

People queue to sign a book of condolence at St Oran’s National School in Cockhill on Saturday evening prior to a vigil and prayer service for John Kelly. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2202GS – 106
People attend a vigil and prayer service at St Oran’s National School in Cockhill on Saturday evening for John Kelly. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2202GS – 108
People hold candles at the vigil and prayer service at St Oran’s National School in Cockhill on Saturday evening for John Kelly. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2202GS – 111
Families attend the vigil and prayer service at St Oran’s National School in Cockhill on Saturday evening for John Kelly. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2202GS – 113
People attend a vigil and prayer service at St Oran’s National School in Cockhill on Saturday evening for John Kelly. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2202GS – 112
A women signs a book of condolence at St Oran’s National School in Cockhill on Saturday evening prior to a vigil and prayer service for John Kelly. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2202GS – 107