Cycling fraternity shaken in wake of latest fatality

September 29, 2014

Representatives of the cycling fraternity were among hundreds of mourners who gathered in Newry yesterday (Sunday) to bid their final farewell to tragic cyclist John Paul McKevitt.

The tragic death of the popular cyclist on Thursday evening sent shockwaves through the entire community and prompted a huge outpouring of sympathy for his partner Rita, their two young sons, Leo and Reuben, and his entire family circle.

John Paul (34) was cycling on the northbound carriageway of the A1, close to the off slip for Sheepbridge, when he was struck by a lorry shortly after 8.00pm.  He was taken to Daisy Hill hospital but died from his injuries a short time later.

The tragedy prompted dozens of messages of sympathy and condolence from a shocked community.  SDLP MLA Karen McKevitt said she was “shocked and deeply saddened” to hear of John Paul’s death and described it as a “tragedy which was felt across the entire community”.

Extending his sympathies to John Paul’s family, Sinn Féin MLA Mickey Brady said the tragedy had caused “great sadness and shock” in the local community.

In recent years, road cycling has grown in popularity throughout the local area and led to the formation of several cycling clubs.  This latest fatality has underlined the vulnerability of the cycling fraternity as a whole and highlighted the utmost importance of constant awareness for all road users.

Requiem mass was held in St. Catherine’s Church, Dominican, which was packed to capacity as family and friends, including his colleagues from the Royal Victoria Hospital X-Ray Department and members of local cycling clubs, gathered to pay their final respects.  Interment followed in Monkshill Cemetery.

John Paul is survived by his partner Rita and sons Leo and Reuben, his parents Malachy and Lilian, brothers Gareth, Darren, Justin, Stewart, Ian and Pete, and sisters Nichola and Mary Kate.

Meanwhile the 35-year-old driver arrested in connection with the collision, has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.  Officers from the PSNI collision investigation Unit continue to appeal for witnesses to contact them on non-emergency number 101.