Christmas tragedies

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Christmas tragedies thumbnailThe scene of the M1 tragedy which claimed the life of Mr Brian Courtney.

THE deaths have taken place of two popular and well-known members of the Loughgall and Ballinderry communities in the run-up to Christmas.

Mr Brian Courtney, of Loughgall, was killed after his car crashed on the M1 motorway close to Tamnamore on Friday last.

And the death also took place on Friday of Ballinderry man Mr Robbie Ryan, who bravely battled a brain tumour.


Mr Brian Courtney

Aged 66, Mr Courtney, of Annahugh, Loughgall and formerly of Stonebridge, Co Armagh, was killed after his car crashed on the M1 motorway close to Tamnamore.

According to Police the crash happened at around 12.35pm and involved a grey Honda Civic.

The accident closed the M1 in both directions near Tamnamore between junctions 13 and 14.

Hundreds of mourners packed into St Patrick's Church in Stonebridge on Boxing Day morning for Requiem Mass.

Kilmore parish priest Fr Oliver Brennan told mourners that Mr Courtney was a "man of his word" with a "great sense of integrity and justice".

Fr Brennan added: "The other recurring theme is how much he helped other people. Brian was the Good Samaritan in the way he helped other people....standing up for those who weren't able to stand up for themselves."

Following Requiem Mass, Mr Courtney was buried in the adjoining cemetery at St Patrick's Church, Stonebridge.

He is survived by wife Briege and family Mel, Caroline, Paul (an Armagh GAA senior footballer) and Martin and family circle, to whom sincere sympathy is extended.

Dungannon UUP Cllr Walter Cuddy said a friend of his daughter's had witnessed the crash.

"I believe the driver was at the Loughgall turn off and heading to Belfast. There was very heavy rain at the time.

"There has been a history of accidents on that stretch over the last decade," stated Cllr Cuddy.

His party colleague, councillor Rosemary Barton posted on Twitter: "Shocked to hear about serious RTC at Tamnamore on M1. My thoughts are with all those involved and the emergency services."

Police have asked that anyone who noticed the Honda Civic in the area prior to the collision, or anyone who witnessed the collision itself, to contact police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 566 of 23/12/16.

A number of people were injured in two other separate accidents over the past week.

A man was taken to hospital following a four vehicle collision on the Cookstown Road on Wednesday 21st December.

A spokesperson for the PSNI confirmed his injuries were not life threatening.

"Following the report of a four vehicle collision on the Cookstown Road on Wednesday, 21st December, one male driver was taken to hospital for injuries which are not believed to be life threatening," said the spokesman.

"The occupants of the other vehicles were left shaken but unharmed."

And investigations are underway following a road traffic collision that occurred on the Killyclogher Road, Omagh on Thursday, 22nd December at approximately 5.20pm.

The collision, involving a motor cycle and a silver Vauxhall Corsa, occurred at the junction with Loughmacrory Road.

The motorcyclist, a man aged in his 20s, is in hospital where his condition, at the time of going to Press, is described as critical.


Mr Robbie Ryan

The community of Ballinderry is in mourning following the death of 48-year-old Robbie Ryan just two days before Christmas.

Robbie who bravely battled a brain tumour and his wife Nuala were a well-known and popular local couple.

Robbie, who was employed at the A29 Filling Station, suffered a seizure in July 2015 and was subsequently diagnosed with a grade four glioblastoma.

The recurring and aggressive brain tumour became unresponsive to the drugs traditionally offered to patients and Robbie's only chance of remission was groundbreaking immunotherapy treatment only available privately.

The fundraising campaign began in earnest and by October last over 30,000 had been raised via their gofundmepage alone.

But sadly, Robbie passed away peacefully at home on Friday last, 23rd December.

A much-loved daddy to a young family, his funeral took place on Boxing Day with a service in St Patrick's Church, Ballinderry, followed by interment in the adjoining cemetery.

Sincere sympathy is extended to the family and family circle.


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