Entire community united in grief
Despite his tender years, Peter Hughes has undoubtedly left a lasting legacy with those who knew him best.
In a statement released after the tragedy, Chairman of Dromintee GAC, Colm McCoy, said: “It was with great sadness that we learnt of the loss of our esteemed senior footballer and club member Peter Hughes, who died in tragic circumstances yesterday. Dromintee GAC wish to convey their sympathies to his parents Paul and Sharon, his siblings Kevin, Ryan and Jennifer and the wider family circle.
“Peter was an invaluable member of our football club and wore the Dromintee jersey with great pride and accomplishment, from underage level right through to senior level. Peter’s contribution to club life follows a long tradition of the Hughes’ family’s involvement in Dromintee GAC. Our existing playing fields and new all weather training facility originally formed part of Peter’s grandfather’s farm.
“Peter was a popular young man and a great ambassador within Dromintee and the wider community. He was head boy at St Paul’s Secondary School, Bessbrook where he was involved in voluntary work, including an overseas project in Kenya. More recently he was studying Chemistry at Queen’s University, Belfast where he continued to develop his love of the Gaelic game.
“The passing of Peter’s young life has left a great void and sadness for his family, friends, teammates, Dromintee GAC and the entire community.
“We wish to also remember and pass on our condolences to the families of the two other young men who lost their lives alongside Peter.
Suaimhneas síoraí ar a anam.”
Principal of St. Paul’s, Jarlath Burns, paid tribute to his former pupil: “The board of governors, principal and staff of St Paul’s High School, Bessbrook are deeply saddened to learn the devastating news of the tragic passing in a road traffic accident of our former head boy, Peter Hughes.
“He was dearly loved by everyone in the school and will always be remembered for his talent, his personality and his commitment to our values. Our thoughts and prayers go to his family.”
MP Mickey Brady offered his condolences to the families of all three victims: “The loss of three more lives, and such young lives, on our roads is nothing short of a tragedy. While the pain will be felt most acutely by the family and friends of those killed, their deaths have cast a shadow over the entire area.
“I know both the Havern and Hughes families and can assure you that Conall and Peter were very popular lads in the area. They were well liked by everybody who knew them, whether it was through football, school or college. Their families, as you can imagine, are heartbroken at this devastating loss. My heart also goes out to the Sloan family in Kilkeel. While I don’t know them personally I’m told all three of the lads were good friends.
“Right now our thoughts and prayers are with three families going through unimaginable grief,” he added.