Ards and North Down Borough Councillor Joe Boyle has expressed his deepest sympathy along with that of the community throughout the Ards Peninsula, and his elected colleagues, to the family relatives and friends of 14-year old Niall O’ Connor from Ballygalget, near Portaferry. Niall was laid to rest on Monday in the adjoining Cemetery after requiem Mass in St.Patrick’s Church in Ballygalget.
Cllr Boyle said: “Niall’s untimely and tragic passing has touched the hearts and minds of people throughout the Ards Peninsula with all of our thoughts and prayers going out to his parents John and Caroline and to his younger sister Ciara at this very difficult time. Niall was a good hurler and liked sport in general, played the guitar, had a good circle of friends and was doing very well within his education as a pupil of Our Lady’s and St. Patrick’s, Knock.
“I visited the O’Connor family home during the weekend where Niall was being waked and spoke with his parents along with his grandparents and to some of his relatives and friends all of whom were totally distraught and in a state of disbelief at the sudden death of Niall.
“Niall’s friends, particularly his teammates from the nearby Ballygalget GAC were present within the home, something I believe was important to them and to Niall’s parents. One of Niall’s closest friends told me how he had been friends with Niall from reception class through their Primary School years and where by both had been in the same class in Our Lady and St. Patrick’s Knock up until Niall’s tragic passing.
“I would express the gratitude to all those from the emergency services that attended along with members of the nearby Ballygalget GAC and Air Ambulance who all tried valiantly to resuscitate and save young Niall, but unfortunately and with extreme sadness efforts proved to be unsuccessful – it just wasn’t to be.
“This is probably the worst nightmare that any parent(s) or family would have to endure and I suppose everyone deals with these situations in their own way. Ballygalget GAC where Niall has played all of his hurling from a very young age have been amazing and will continue to rally around the O’Connor family and support them through the next number of weeks and months. It is what the GAA Community does in times of need throughout the Peninsula and other areas.”
Councillor Boyle added: “I also know that the communities across the towns and villages throughout the Ards Peninsula equally have their thoughts and prayers with the O’Connor family and been expressing such sad feelings towards myself.
“I hope that his parents John and Caroline along with his young sister Ciara find the strength to help them through this difficult period. Their strong bonding of a broad family circle will prove to be of great comfort to them as they deal with such a tragic life changing situation in the weeks and months to come.”