Rostrevor crash fatalities bring local road deaths to six

September 21, 2015

The entire district was left reeling last week with the news that two more young people had lost their lives on our roads.  Local communities were plunged into grief once again as they learned of the deaths of best friends Eoin Farrell and James Miskelly, both just 17, who were killed when the car they were travelling in careered off the Kilbroney Road just before midnight on Monday.

It is understood the car struck a wall, causing a fire to a nearby oil tank which spread to a property, before the vehicle ended up in a field.  A third teenager, Che Kane, was reportedly thrown from the car.  He spent most of last week in a critical condition in Craigavon Area Hospital before being take off a life support machine on Wednesday.  His condition is described as “ill but stable.”.

People throughout Newry and Mourne struggled to come to terms with the latest tragedy to claim such young lives, occurring just weeks after three young men from Dromintee, Newry and Kilkeel were killed in a crash on the A1 from Belfast and barely a week after 24 year old Queen’s graduate, Danica Nugent was killed in a one car collision in Crossmaglen.

Hundreds of tributes were paid to the pair by their devastated families and friends, with Mr Farrell, from Rostrevor, and Mr Miskelly, from Mayobridge, described as “great characters” who were “full of life.”

Speaking earlier last week, Eoin’s father Gerard remembered the pair as “inseparable friends.”  The grieving father described his son as “fun-loving and easygoing.”

“He was always on the go, always enjoying life, always with his cheeky smile,” he said.

“There wasn’t a bad bone in him. He was a great son, just a great, great son. We all loved him.”

Mr Farrell also expressed his sympathy to the families of the other victims killed and injured in the accident and said his “thoughts and prayers” were with them.

“An awful tragedy – I wouldn’t wish it on anybody,” he added.

Both teenagers had previously attended St Mark’s High School in Warrenpoint and were students at the Southern Regional College in Newry where they were studying heavy vehicle maintenance.

The chief executive of the Southern Regional College, Brian Doran, said the tragic accident had left staff and fellow students in “a state of shock.”

Mr Doran said the two young men had been cut down “in the prime of their lives.” Describing the teenagers as “great characters”, Mr Doran said the two had a close bond in the classroom “and will be sorely missed by staff and fellow students alike.”

The chief executive also wished fellow SRC student Che Kane well in his recovery.

Independent Councillor Jarlath Tinnelly, who lives close to the scene of the tragedy, said the district was “still in a dark place” due to the recent fatalities which had taken place and described the Rostrevor crash as “absolutely horrific.”

“In any small community, as word begins to spread, it affects everybody.  All our thoughts and prayers are with the two families who have been plunged into an absolute nightmare,” he said.

Both Eoin and James were laid to rest on Friday. Hundreds lined the streets of Rostrevor as Eoin Farrell’s funeral cortege made its way through the town before his burial at Kilbroney Municipal Cemetery.  James Miskelly’s funeral was held later at St Patrick’s Parish Church in Mayobridge.  His family had asked his young friends not to wear black to his funeral but instead to wear James’ favourite clothes including check shirts, flat caps and brown shoes.