Northern Ireland news

Arlene Foster 'cannot begin to comprehend the pain and anguish' of Cookstown families

DUP leader Arlene Foster. Picture by Liam McBurney, Press Association

DUP leader Arlene Foster has signed a book of condolence to the three teenagers who died in the Cookstown tragedy.

Morgan Barnard (17), Connor Currie (16) and Lauren Bullock (17) died after a crush outside a St Patrick's Day disco at the Greenvale Hotel in Co Tyrone on Sunday evening.

The hotel's owner Michael McElhatton (52) and a 40-year-old man understood to be a member of the venue's door staff were arrested yesterday on suspicion of manslaughter.

Mr McElhatton was arrested in Cookstown. The other man was detained in the Dungannon area.

They remain in custody.

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The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Arlene Foster visited Burnavon Theatre in Cookstown this morning, along with party colleague, Keith Buchanan to sign the book of condolence.

Mrs Foster said: "I cannot begin to comprehend the pain and anguish the families of Lauren, Connor and Morgan are going through at this time."

"As a mother of two teenagers this is the news no parent should ever receive, particularly as young people go out for an evening of enjoyment," she said.

"The tragic loss of life has been felt across the entire area of Cookstown, Dungannon and beyond.

"There are many homes in Northern Ireland who have been devastated by tragedy over the bank holiday weekend. I want to pass on my condolences to the families involved and I pray God will strengthen them all in the days ahead.”

DUP leader Arlene Foster signing a book of condolence for the Cookstown victims. Picture from the BBC, Twitter

Books of condolence opened across the Mid Ulster council area yesterday morning.

The books can be signed at the Burnavon, Ranfurly House in Dungannon and the Bridewell in Magherafelt.

A separate book of condolence was opened at the reception of Belfast City Hall yesterday morning.

Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, councillor Howard Thornton, signing a book of condolence in Enniskillen to the Cookstown victims 

Other books are open at the Townhall in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, and the Connect Centre in Omagh, Co Tyrone.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council said the books can be signed until April 5.

People can also submit their message by visiting the council website

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