The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland has asked for prayers following the tragic deaths of three teenagers in Co Tyrone on Saint Patrick’s night.

The three young people have been named as Lauren Bullock (17), a student of Saint Patrick’s College in Dungannon, Connor Currie (16) and Morgan Barnard (17), who were both students at Saint Patrick’s Academy in Dungannon.

Speaking on Monday, Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh said, “The joy and celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day in the Archdiocese of Armagh has given way to shock and sadness today as we try to come to terms with the tragic incident in Cookstown last night.  Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of Lauren, Connor and Morgan, and with all of those who were caught up in the horror and distress of what happened, including those injured and traumatised, and the emergency services and staff who responded.

“The sudden loss of any life makes us stop in our tracks and ask, ‘Why?’ – but when the lives of three young people are taken away so abruptly, and in the fullness of their youth and potential, we are left speechless and the grief is overwhelming.  Words are inadequate at times like this: only compassion, love and faith can offer consolation to their loved ones and a glimpse of hope in the resurrection of Christ.”

Archbishop Eamon went on to say, “In the coming days our parishes, schools and wider communities of Dungannon, Donaghmore, Cookstown, and others throughout Tyrone and beyond, will reach out with Christian faith, love and compassion to let these heartbroken families and school friends know that they are not alone in their grief and loss.  Please join with me in praying for comfort and strength for all the bereaved and injured.

“I offer, in prayer, words from Saint Patrick’s Breastplate: ‘Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger. Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ to comfort and restore me’.”

A book of condolence has been opened in Saint Patrick’s Church, Dungannon.

ENDS