Northern Ireland

First funeral of weekend’s five road crash victims to take place on Thursday

Gary McLoughlin will be laid to rest in Newry

Co Armagh crash victims (left to right) Keith Morrison, Emma Mallon, Phil Mitchell and Marina Crilly
Co Armagh crash victims (left to right) Keith Morrison, Emma Mallon, Phil Mitchell and Marina Crilly

The first funeral of the five victims of the weekend’s road crash tragedies in Northern Ireland is due to take place on Thursday.

Family and friends of Gary McLoughlin will gather in Bessbrook to say their final farewells following his death on Saturday night.

Gary McLoughlin
Gary McLoughlin died after he was struck by a car in Newry

The father-of-one, who was known as ‘Cookie’ and aged in his forties, was struck by a car on the Forkhill Road in Newry at around 10.40pm.

He passed away in hospital a short time later.

A former footballer, he was remembered as a “club legend”.

His funeral is due to take place at St Brigid’s Church, The Meadow, on Thursday at 3pm followed by burial in Monkshill cemetery.

He is survived by his son Matthew and parents Jim and Mary-Ann.

Tributes also continue to be paid to the four young friends who lost their lives in a single-vehicle collision on Sunday.

Mother-of-one Marina Crilly from Ballymacnab, Emma Mallon from Middletown, Phil Mitchell from Markethill and Keith Morrison from Tynan were killed when the Volkswagen Golf they were travelling in struck a tree at Ballynahonemore Road, near Armagh, at around 2.10am.

It is understood the car burst into flames when it hit the tree.

The four passengers, all aged in their twenties, were declared dead at the scene.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been released for the four friends.

In a tribute on social media, Clady GFC said the club and community was “saddened to learn the tragic passing” of the four friends.

Clady GFC and the surrounding community are saddened to learn the tragic passing of Marina Crilly, Emma Mallon, Phil...

Posted by Clady Gfc on Monday 25 March 2024

“We would like to express our deepest sympathies to the families and friends affected by this tragedy,” the club said.

“Together we sympathise with all those affected, may you get the strength and comfort to get through the difficult times ahead.”

First Minister Michelle O’Neill said it was “heart-breaking” to learn of the five deaths, while Deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly added: “My heart breaks for the grief of their families and friends. What a tragedy”.

Police have said a “thorough and sensitive” investigation is under way.