Northern Ireland news

Ashes of Martin Nelis to be carried home to Derry

Martin Nelis was killed in a road accident the US.

FRIENDS and family will today celebrate the life of a son of former Sinn Féin MLA Mary Nelis.

Father-of-three Martin Nelis (54) was killed in a cycling accident after being hit by a lorry in Pleasant Hill, California.

He was treated at the scene and taken to the city's John Muir Medical Centre but died a short time later.

It is understood that the accident occurred while Mr Nelis was taking a lunch-time cycle.

One of the best-known figures in Sinn Féin, Mr Nelis's mother served on the former Derry city council and as an MLA.

A prominent activist throughout her career, Mrs Nelis was a leading civil rights campaigner in the late 1960s. She also played a key role in the political status prisoners' campaign of the late 1970s. Another brother of Mr Nelis is Irish language activist Donncha Mac Niallais. He was also a brother-in-law of Sinn Féin Co Antrim MLA Declan Kearney.

From Derry's Creggan and Bogside, Mr Nelis was a graduate of Queen's University Belfast. He had been working as a public information officer for the city of Pleasant Hill for the last 11 years.

His life will be celebrated by his family, friends and colleagues in the US on Thursday in Pleasant Hill. His remains will be cremated and ashes carried home to Derry by his children on Sunday August 12.

On Monday August 13, his remains will be removed from his mother's house for Requiem Mass at 10am in Long Tower church. He will be buried afterwards in the City Cemetery. Later on Monday, there will be a celebration of Mr Nelis's life in the Gasyard. His children and his family have invited friends to be part of this celebration in songs and words.

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