Derry & Strabane buildings to light up in memory of Martin Connolly (15)

Derry City and Strabane Council buildings will light up on October 19 to mark the 25th anniversary of the passing of 15-year old Martin Connolly (Mac) and all others within the council area who have been tragically lost as a result of substance misuse.

Martin Connolly was just 15 when he died.
Martin Connolly was just 15 when he died.

Young Martin was found lying in an alley behind shops at Beechwood Avenue in the Creggan area of the city by a passer-by. The Woodbrook teenager was rushed to Altnagelvin Hospital where he sadly died after inhaling a lethal dose of butane gas.

Mayor Sandra Duffy informed the hybrid chamber that Mac’s family had contacted her to make the request.

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“This year will mark the 25th anniversary of the tragic death of young Martin Connolly – young Mac,” said the Mayor. “Since Mac’s death his family have tirelessly campaigned around drug and substance misuse looking for better educational opportunities for young people within the city and ultimately that resulted in a service called Divert being set up.

The New Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Sandra Duffy. (Photo: Jim McCafferty Photography)

“It did fantastic work at the time going into school and youth clubs, training providers, youth hostels and educating young people about drug misuse and the impact of drugs on the body. It was invaluable at the time.”

The Mayor said Mac’s family have been in contact with herself and have requested “that we light up council buildings in relation to all people in this city and district who have been lost as a result of substance misuse and I have gladly agreed to do that.”

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SDLP councillor Brian Tierney commented: “I remember Mac. He was the same year as me at school and he ran around the Bog at the same time. It was very, very tragic circumstances in which he lost his life.

“I was on one of the first groups of young people a year after his death to take part in the Mac Cup and I have watched it very keenly over the last 23/ 24 years grow into a community event which takes place across the Bogside and Brandywell area and is something positive for young people in the summer months,” Councillor Tierney added.

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Gillian Anderson

Local Democracy Reporter